Hudson Youth Minister Accused of Sexual Battery
The incident happened about 10 years ago when the victim was 17 years old, Pasco deputies said.
PASCO COUNTY – A youth minister has been accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a 17-year-old boy, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.
Jeremiah Joseph Smith, 38, was charged with one count of Sexual Battery on a victim younger than 18 years of age. Smith was a youth minister at the First United Methodist Church of Hudson. He is employed by Genesis Preparatory School in New Port Richey.
Deputies said the teen told them that Smith was the youth minister at his church and he would often spend time at Smith’s home in Hudson.
On at least eight occasions, deputies said, Smith would tell the boy to go into the laundry room and take his clothes off. Smith would then give the boy a full body massage that lasted 30 to 45 minutes.
On Sept. 12, 2009, the victim told deputies that Smith told him to go into the laundry room, saying, “You know the drill.” The boy did as he was instructed and, during the massage, said Smith exposed himself and inappropriately touched the boy’s private body parts.
During a “controlled phone call,” deputies said Smith “repeatedly apologized to the victim and acknowledged he ‘made a series of horrible decisions.'”
During an interview with deputies, Smith admitted giving the teen a massage on one occasion but said the boy had shorts on at the time. Deputies said he admitted massaging the teen’s “butt” and said it was possible he might have inappropriately touched the boy. Smith said he thought the boy was 18 years old at the time.
Pasco Sheriff | Crime | Arrests | Tampabay News
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