Baptist camp leader charged with child porn

December 13, 2006

COLUMBIA, Ill. — A former church camp leader was arrested on child pornography charges and accused of trying to coax girls, at least one of them a former camper, to pose partly naked or perform a sex act.

Aaron Niles, 20, began chatting with the girls online using the screen names "loverboyniles" and "godrocks30" after working at a Baptist summer camp in 2005, Columbia Police Chief Joe Edwards said Wednesday.

He was arrested Tuesday on three counts of child pornography and one count of indecent solicitation of a child related to incidents in April and May.

At least one of the girls in the allegations had attended the summer camp where Niles was a volunteer team leader, police said.

Investigators were still combing through Niles' computer Wednesday, but "once we complete this, the potential for additional charges are there," Edwards said.

He said investigators also were asking parents whose children may have attended the Super Summer Baptist Camp in Greenville in 2005 to check their children's computer for Niles' online user name.

Niles was jailed on $10,000 bond. He has an unlisted telephone number in Waterloo, near Columbia, about 15 miles southeast of St. Louis.

In a statement Tuesday, the pastor of Niles' Columbia church said the allegations left the congregation "deeply saddened."

"We hurt for the families who have been hurt by this," the statement from First Baptist Church pastor Jonathan Peters said. "We, as the leadership of this church family, have done our best to both protect our church and to demonstrate compassion to everyone involved. We have sought to show love without leniency."


December 13, 2006 - 9:31 a.m. CST

Copyright 2006, The Associated Press.