Salvation Army Pastor Arrested for Inappropriate Relationship With Youth Group Member
A Colorado youth pastor recently turned himself into local authorities after an investigation revealed inappropriate communication between him and a minor attending his youth group.
In October, the Fountain Police Department (FDP) began investigating Jeffery Williams, suspected of sending sexually explicit material to the minor while he was a pastor with the Salvation Army from 2013 to 2017.
FPD stated that on October 13, officers were called to a location in Fountain regarding an alleged sexual assault on a minor. During its investigation, FPD contacted Williams over the phone, who had moved to Arizona.
Fox 21 reported Williams confirmed to officers that around seven years ago, from 2014 to 2015, he was in contact with the minor and had allegedly sent sexually explicit pictures and messages, arrest documents showed. Their conversations included video chats with sexual behavior and indication that they planned to have sex in person.
Before serving as a Salvation Army officer in 2013, Williams completed a two-year church training program in California and served in Fountain for four years, where the alleged incident occurred. Social media posts affirm Williams has been married nearly 20 years and has three children.
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After learning of the investigation, the Salvation Army claims they immediately suspended Williams and reported the allegations to the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline.
Major Mike Dickinson, the Divisional Commander for the Intermountain Division of the Salvation Army, released a statement professing the Salvation Army attempted to contact the victim to extend assistance and is fully cooperating with authorities.
For 20 years, the Salvation Army has applied an abuse-prevention program called “Protecting the Mission.” The program’s purpose is to prevent and stop the abuse of the vulnerable by deploying rigid screening requirements, supervision rules, and training standards.
The church said they remain committed to maintaining a high standard of abuse reporting and prevention: “We will continue to place the protection of the vulnerable at the center of everything that we do. The work of The Salvation Army to serve people in need continues under new leadership in the communities of Fountain, CO, and in Chandler, AZ, where he was stationed at the time of the arrest.”
Williams, 38, turned himself in to the Fountain Police Department about a month after the investigation began. The El Paso County Criminal Justice Center booked him on Unlawful Sexual Communication in a Position of Trust and Obscenity.
Fountain Police detectives are still seeking the public’s assistance locating additional witnesses or victims.