A youth minister named Andrew Weaver 29, in Polk County was arrested Monday for attempting to have sex with a 17-year-old minor who needed counseling and attended his church.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd held a press conference to talk about Weaver and described him as a youth pastor at Highlands Church of Christ in Lakeland. When church leaders learned about the inappropriate relationship with a minor who attended his youth group they notified detectives.
Here’s what happened… Weaver started ‘informally counseling’ the 17-year-old girl when she started confessing about having sexual fantasies. He then asked her if he was in any of those fantasies, she replied yes and then he requested to see nude photos of her. They then met up at the church and went to a local hotel to rent a room. They were just about to hook up but stopped when a maid knocked on the door to ask if they needed anything. The teen later told investigators if the maid hadn’t interrupted them they would have had sex.
Judd said, “Let me share a little counseling with Andrew here: Jesus don’t like that,” Judd said. “I’d even go so far to say he’s pissed.”
“Instead of him being the adult in the room, he creates a relationship with a 17-year-old child,” Judd said. “Did I tell you that he’s 29, and married, and a youth pastor?”
“Youth ministers are entrusted with mentoring our children. This minister betrayed that trust and he must be held accountable,” Sheriff Judd said. “Thankfully, the church leadership did the right thing by reporting his inappropriate behavior.”
The Highlands Church of Christ released a statement that said, “Last week we became aware of allegations of our Student Minister being involved in criminal conduct and we reported this to the Florida Department of Children and Family and to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. His employment has been terminated and we are cooperating with the investigation being conducted by the Sheriff’s office. We are devastated by what has occurred and we are praying for healing for our church and for those involved.”