Youth pastor is now facing charges after crossing the line with a teenage girl
Today, a man named Andrew Pierce Weaver was charged with attempting to fornicate with a girl who is only 17-years-old, after he'd been inappropriate with the teen in a hotel room. Weaver, who is 29 years old, is a youth pastor at Highlands Church of Christ, in Lakeland Florida, and the alleged incident took place sometime between December 2020 and January 2020, though probably on December 29th, 2020.
It all began when Weaver and the teen decided to meet up in a hotel room in Polk County. Police were able to find evidence of a hotel room booked on December 29th, hence why they presume this was the date the alleged offenses occurred.
The man is being charged with attempted unlawful sex with a minor and interference with child custody, according to the Polk County Sheriff, and was arrested on those charges.
The man said he was giving the teen "practical guidance," as the youth counselor for the church. But it's been alleged that the teenager showed the man nude photos of herself after she'd confessed to him that she'd been having sexual fantasies about him.
Weaver continued to ask to see the photos of her on her phone, but also requested that the teen never sent them to him (to his own phone) so that way there would never be a digital trail by which he could be caught.
The police said the pair engaged in sexual activities but not actual sex. However, they were interrupted by a hotel maid and that may be the reason why things didn't escalate into something more serious.
The church group is obviously upset about the breach of trust Mr. Weaver carried out under their name. Once they got word of the incident, they themselves were the ones who turned the man in to police, as the teen said she intended to continue the relationship with Mr. Weaver.
The Polk County Sheriff issued a statement saying:
Youth ministers are entrusted with mentoring our children. This minister betrayed that trust and he must be held accountable. Thankfully, the church leadership did the right thing by reporting his inappropriate behavior.
The Highlands Church of Christ also told WFTS that they were fully cooperating with police and described their feelings as "devastated" that this could happen on their watch:
We are devastated by what has occurred and we are praying for healing for our church and for those involved.
Like all too many teachers who've crossed the line with students, church youth ministers are in a position of responsibility and these sorts of things simply cannot happen. Fortunately, this man has been turned over to law enforcement where the State can investigate and make an appropriate judgment as to what kind of punishment should be administered.
Weaver has confessed to the incident, admitting that he crossed the line and says he struggled with impulse control after becoming emotionally invested in the victim. He's said to be cooperating with authorities in the case.