Church removes pastor facing charges for possessing child porn abuse of kids as young as 13

Written by on March 21, 2022

By Anugrah Kumar, christian Post Contributor

Stephen Bates
Stephen Bates |

A New Hampshire Baptist pastor, who was arrested and now faces five felony charges for possession of child sexual abuse images, has been removed from his job, his church has said.

“The congregation strongly denounces the actions of Stephen Bates as ungodly, unholy, unnatural, perverted and reprehensible,” deacons of the Bible Baptist Church of Nashua, an independent Baptist congregation, said in a statement.

Court documents show the 46-year-old ex-pastor is facing five charges of possessing child sexual abuse images, not just one, as was known earlier, NBC Boston said, adding that police found two flash drives in his pants pocket, which had child sexual abuse images in various folders involving children as young as 13.

“During a review of the content on the drives numerous images of child pornography were located,” stated the Nashua Police Department on Tuesday. “As a result of him possessing child pornography Pastor Bates was arrested.”

The church said in the statement: “We have worked with and will continue to support our local law enforcement in this matter and our wish is that justice be served. Our hearts break for all his victims and we sorrow with them for the hurt, pain, and irreparable damage he has caused. We encourage anyone victimized by Stephen Bates’ actions to contact local law enforcement.”

The investigation began in August 2016, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted Nashua Police with a tip indicating that child pornography had been accessed by a device with an IP address associated with Bible Baptist Church.  

After the arrest, police said in a statement, “From the onset of the investigation, Pastor Bates was contacted several times by investigators with the Nashua Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations. Pastor Bates was considered a person of interest during the earlier investigations but until today there wasn’t sufficient evidence to charge him with any crimes.”

Offices of the Homeland Security Investigations in Denver, Colorado, and Blaine, Washington, conducted investigations into the distribution of child pornography and child sexual exploitation in 2019 and 2021. They also discovered the source of the crimes being an IP address associated with the church.

Additionally, in 2020, when police in Tallahassee, Florida, investigated the publishing of child pornography online, they learned that the account responsible for publishing the images “utilized an IP address associated with the Bible Baptist Church.”

Police have said no local victims have been identified, but also encouraged any parishioners with concerns to come forward.

Bible Baptist Church was founded in 1980 by a group of ex-Catholics. Bates became the church’s pastor in August 2005 following a unanimous vote.

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