Another day, another tragic youth worker story in the news feed. This time it hits closer to home as a 35-year-old husband and father of five children was arrested here in Pennsylvania for impregnating a 15-year-old girl from his youth group.
Two weeks ago today I blogged on another one of the many stories like this that had popped up in my newsfeed just that morning. Shortly thereafter, I received this email from a youth worker who had read the blog:
I live in North Carolina and I wanted to take time to write and thank CPYU. I read your article on youth workers and mug shots.
I am one of those. I lost my position in youth ministry of course. I have four years left on the sex offenders list and then I can ask the courts to be removed. Doing what I did was so out of character for me. I haven’t done anything like that ever before or since. I’m doing my best to educate parents and men about the dangers of setting yourself up for a fall. There was no child involved it was a sting operation. I am glad God used those officers to stop me before it got any worse. My punishment was 2 year probation 14 days in jail which was actually 7 weekends and the 10 yr on the list until I get a chance to petition to be removed. Pray that I can be removed so that before my son graduates high school that I can go see him graduate but also be able to go to sporting events and do other things that a father should be doing with his son. The mess I made has cost me time lost with my son that I’ll never get back. I am blessed in the fact that while my marriage did end in divorce that she has vowed to never pull my son out of my life. I was raised with out my father in the picture and she sees how it effected me. I am still there for my son in all other ways of life that he needs me to be.
Perhaps stories and emails like these remind us of our need to understand that we can and will be our own worst enemy. Know the Word. Live the Word. Surround yourself with accountability. Realize that your actions have consequences that will reach far and wide long beyond a moment and place in time.
I Peter 5:8 should serve as a constant reminder of a constant reality: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”