Tuesday, March 25, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Youth pastor faces charges for sex with underage girl

A youth pastor had sex with a teenage girl in his offices at the Berea Baptist Church over a span of two years, police said today.

Jeremy Workman, 32, was charged last week with unlawful sexual contact with a minor and possession of criminal tools. He is being held on $250,000 bond. Workman resigned from the church in January. The girl was 15 and in the youth group when the two began their sexual relationship. She is now 19 and pregnant with his child, police said.

Workman served as the church's youth pastor since 2000.

"This kind of evil behavior takes place frequently in secular venues, but when it occurs in a holy setting like God's House, it is especially grevious," Pastor Kenneth Spink said in a statement.

Workman also worked part time in the weight room of the Berea Recreation Center, said police Chief Mark Schultz. No work-related problems were ever reported.

Workman resigned from his job at the church in January, weeks after he learned that the girl was pregnant. He left the church because of the affair, though it appeared there had been nothing illegal, Berea police Detective Dennis Bort said.

The police investigation began in late February, when a church official brought copies of seven e-mails Workman and the teenager exchanged that included discussions about sex.

The investigation took a bit longer because authorities had to track down Workman. After he left the church, he took courses to become a truck driver. Bort was able to locate him in California, and Workman agreed to return to Ohio.

Bort said Workman and the girl stopped their relationship when teenager was 17, when she had a boyfriend and later went off to college. During a break from school, the two met again, he said.

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