Jesus loves the little children, and so does former youth pastor Jason Roberson. Channeling his inner Phil Robertson, the youth pastor of Vinelife Church in Longmont, CO maintained a seven-year “relationship” with congregant Danielle DesGeorges that began when she was fifteen years old.
Roberson pleaded guilty in April to sexually exploiting and stalking the woman, who is now twenty-four, in exchange for prosecutors dropping the charges of sexual assault on a child in a position of trust and unlawful sexual contact.
Five church officials, Senior Pastor Walt Roberson, who is Jason Roberson’s father, Executive Pastor Robert Phillip Young, Pastor Luke Michael Humbrecht, and church elders Edward Charles Bennell and Warren Lloyd Williams, also face charges of failing to report alleged sexual abuse. Humbrecht has already pleaded guilty and was given a twelve month deferred sentence. The others will stand trial in November.
Roberson will serve just two years in prison followed by 30 days in Boulder County Jail or work release, depending on openings as “punishment” for the years of abuse.
At his sentencing on Friday, Roberson told the judge that he’s accepted blame for manipulating the then-child in his charge. However, in a pre-sentence report, a probation officer wrote that DesGeorges’ abuser “continues to minimize his accountability.” Leading up to the sentencing, he claimed that he was between “50 percent and 70 percent” responsible, according to Boulder County News.
“I know that my actions, my poor inexcusable actions some years ago, were just that — inexcusable,” Roberson said Friday. “I know they caused harm and pain to everyone involved.” He added, “I was responsible to make healthy decisions at that point in my life, and I didn’t.”
DesGeorges’ mother and sister testified of the trauma through which the disgraced youth pastor put the family, including Roberson stalking and visiting Danielle in their home under the guise of “spiritual advisory.”
“He had access to our daughter because he had established a circle of trust within our lives,” said Janet DesGeorges, Danielle’s mother. “He groomed, manipulated and abused our daughter. She was at an age of extreme developmental importance, in which her abuser used her innocence for his own perverse needs. And so he has stolen our past. We have lost those years, never to be replaced.”
“He knew exactly what he was doing,” said Sara DesGeorges. “This was a master plan of manipulation in order to continue and protect his obsession with my sister.”
Despite his newfound alleged feeling of guilt, prosecutors are not convinced. “It was not OK, and it was not appropriate, and it was not her fault,” said Adrian Van Nice, chief trial deputy with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office. “And any indication and allegation to the contrary is simply untrue.”
Judge Macdonald agreed. “The fact of the matter is this never would have gone this route had you not been in this position with this lady,”the judge told Roberson “This is an unbelievably tragic case, and I hope you understand that it’s entirely your fault.”