Youth minister gets jail for sex charge

December 19, 2006

Waterloo, Ia. — A former youth minister convicted of abusing church youth has been given jail time as well as probation and parole under new sentencing laws for sex offenders.

Michael R. Ross, 28, pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation by a counselor, two counts of providing alcohol to a minor and simple assault.

Judge Kellyann Lekar agreed to uphold the prosecution’s plea offer, which sentenced Ross to five years in prison, suspended to two to five years’ probation for the exploitation charge. The judge also imposed a 14-day jail sentence for the simple assault charge, and $500 fines for the alcohol charges.

Ross will have to undergo sex offender treatment and a substance abuse evaluation and register as a sex offender.

Ross was a licensed pastor through the First Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., and was director of youth ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Waterloo from March 2003 until December 2005.

Police said he had sex with a 16-year-old girl from the church youth group in December 2004 and February 2005, records state.