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Police File More Charges Against Ex-Youth Pastor

August 2, 2008

By Sherry Long, The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Aug. 2–KINGSTON — A former youth pastor at a Kingston church, charged with taking advantange of teens he was mentoring, faces additional charges.

Brian Andrew Neiswender, 26, was charged Friday with indecent assault and corruption of minors and arraigned Friday afternoon before District Judge Paul Roberts. He was released on $25,000 unsecured bail.

The former youth pastor at Christ Community Church on West Dorrance Street had been charged on June 4 with two counts each of indecent assault and corruption of minors. Those alleged incidents took place between September 2003 and February 2006, when Neiswender was employed by the church

Attorney Jair Novajosky represented Neiswender during his June arraignment, but no longer represents him. Novajosky declined to say why or when he stopped representing the former youth pastor.

Kingston police said the previous charges were filed after two teenage females whom Neiswender was mentoring claimed he touched them inappropriately during games, guitar and piano lessons.

Neiswender’s current address is listed as Lakeland, Fla., and he is listed on the Web site of Heritage Baptist Church there as pastor of student ministries. Senior Pastor Bill Boulet said on June 5 that Neiswender had been placed on a leave of absence pending further review.

It’s unknown if Neiswender is still employed by the church. The church’s Web site says Neiswender grew up in Baltimore, Md., and met his wife while attending Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit.

Calls to Kingston police and Heritage Baptist Church officials were not returned Friday.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 11.

Sherry Long, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 829-7159.

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

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