In 2019, during a Christian music festival at a theme park in New York, a 12-year-old girl wanted to change out of her bathing suit. Her youth pastor at Life Church Buffalo told her she could change in his camper. So she did. And then she discovered the iPhone on the ledge.
… The Victim looked at the iPhone and discovered it had been recording for about 13 minutes. After deleting the video of her changing, the Victim replaced the iPhone on the ledge. The Victim next discovered a second iPhone hidden in the sheets on the bed. She also deleted that video as well, replaced the device, and left the camper. The Victim called her mother to tell her what happened.
When the police arrived, that pastor, Nathan L. Rogers immediately broke down:
Uniformed personnel, led by an investigator with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, approached Rogers that same day and asked him if he knew why they were there.
“I did something really stupid,” Rogers replied, according to [FBI Special Agent Randall E.] Garver’s statement, and when asked to elaborate said: “I set up a camera while someone was changing in my camper.”
Rogers has been charged with “production of child pornography,” a crime that would lead to at least 15 years in prison. There’s reason to believe there were other images/videos on his phone as well.
Church leaders distanced themselves from him after that festival incident but didn’t take any responsibility for putting him in a position where he could be around children. While his actions aren’t their fault, it does make you question their hiring process.
“Life Church Buffalo is shocked and deeply saddened over the improper incident that occurred at Darien Lake on Wednesday [in 2019] involving a member of our staff,” church officials said in a statement released to News 4 on Friday. “Gratefully, local law enforcement was notified and responded quickly.”
“We are earnestly praying for the healing of everyone involved in this incident, particularly the victim and her family,” they added. “We have offered and will continue to offer professional counseling and ministry support for all of our students as we endeavor to serve our community with love and compassion.”
It’s a far cry from 2015, when they welcomed Rogers and his wife to their staff while touting his Christian credentials:
… Nate is a graduate of Elim Bible Institute with a degree in Biblical Studies and Youth Ministry.
It’s not clear what else about his past they looked into before hiring him.
(Screenshot via WGRZ. Thanks to Scott for the link)