Another day, another youth pastor grooming a young girl in his care. Are Christian conservatives going to defend this one, too? Ugh, don’t answer that…
Alexander Blackwelder was arrested this week after allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old girl. The 26-year-old, besides sometimes sharing his sermons on YouTube, is the youth pastor in residence at the East Main Street Church of Christ in Tupelo, Mississippi. Tupelo Police detective Hal Veal told reporters police got a tip back on February 15 about the church’s youth pastor having an inappropriate relationship with an underage parishioner.
Police first questioned the girl, with her parents present at the interview. The teen denied any kind of improper relationship — but admitted to having one-on-one conversations on the phone and through Snapchat. That alone was enough to clue in detectives — and her parents agreed, signing a consent form allowing cops to search the girl’s phone. There they found sexually explicit photos and videos, as well as records of conversations with Blackwelder which led them to believe the two had done more than exchange pics.
In his first interview with police, back on February 17, Blackwelder denied there was anything inappropriate between himself and the girl. But on Wednesday he was brought into the station — after police already had the phone evidence. He cracked this time. Detective Veal said:
“He admitted that they had sexual intercourse on two occasions and exchanged inappropriate video and pictures.”
That was all they needed. Blackwelder was booked on one count of enticement of a child to produce visual depictions of adult sexual conduct and two counts of sexual battery.
(c) Lee County Sheriff’s Department
Prosecutors asked that Blackwelder be held without bond, and in court on Thursday Tupelo Municipal Court Judge Willie Allen agreed, saying:
“I think the charges are serious enough that we need to keep you.”
The question of bond will come up again in his next hearing. If found guilty of all crimes, the youth pastor could theoretically face up to 100 years in prison, 40 for the enticement, 30 each for the battery. However, it’s unlikely he’d be given consecutive sentences on all the charges. Still, that shows just how serious authorities are taking this.
Because, despite what some Christian conservatives have argued the past couple days, when a grown man has sex with a 16-year-old girl, it’s not leading her into the path God intended, it’s a crime. For those who didn’t see, the story of the German youth pastor who proudly posted about having dated his wife since he was 19 and she was 14 went viral again this week. There were, shockingly, some folks defending him — while in the same breath decrying the LGBT community as “groomers” for the crime of telling young people it was OK if they were gay. And yet, in the face of actual, textbook grooming they said it was fine because it was heterosexual.
We couldn’t help but notice there were at least three instances of youth pastors just this week getting in trouble with the law for sexual misconduct with minors. Kind of seems like the rage that’s being displayed at drag shows should be pointed inward to us. Or as y’all faithful might know it, Matthew 7:5:
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
[Image via WJTV 12 News/Youtube.]