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Thursday, February 15, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Church youth leader charged with molesting girl, 13

A youth group coordinator for a Mill Creek church was charged Tuesday with having repeated sexual contact with a 13-year-old girl on church grounds.

A judge Tuesday signed a $100,000 arrest warrant for Joshua Tanner Beals, 22. He's charged with two counts of second-degree child molestation in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Deputy prosecutor Mark Roe said in court papers that he sought the arrest warrant because "it appears that a number of adults connected with either the church or the defendant do indeed blame" the girl for the sexual activity.

He also said church authorities have been "evasive" with Snohomish County sheriff's detectives.

Roe declined to identify the church.

The girl told authorities the two had sexual intercourse at least three times, all at Beals' residence on the church property.

"They even memorialized some of the sexual contact by taking pictures" of the couple kissing, Roe said. He wrote that Beals told the girl not to disclose the photos to anyone "because he could get in trouble."

The girl told investigators that she told the pastor what was happening and the pastor said it would be a "horrible mess" if she told anyone else, charging papers said.

The pastor also said that the girl could keep the illicit contact quiet and Beals could move away quietly, documents said.

At one point, the defendant's mother heard about the situation and asked the girl to destroy the photos, Roe wrote.

The case remains under investigation, Roe said.