Ex-PSL youth minister gets probation in alleged sexual misconduct with teen
By TCPalm Staff
TC Palm / Fort Pierce Tribune
July 31, 2007
PORT ST. LUCIE — Had the case gone to trial, it would have involved the word of a former youth minister against a 15-year-old girl he counseled who claimed he molested her.
In the end, Jermey Patrick Gable, 31, reached a plea deal with prosecutors that kept him out of prison and allowed his accuser to avoid the ordeal of testifying at trial. Gable was originally charged with sexual battery in the April 2006 incident, but pleaded no contest to a charge of child abuse instead and was sentenced by Circuit Judge Gary Sweet to five years of probation.
"I'm still claiming my innocence," Gable said, adding the plea was in his best interest. He could have faced up to five years in prison on the charge.
Gable, who worked at First Baptist Church of Port St. Lucie and counseled the girl at her mother's request, was accused of inappropriately touching the girl while they were painting his office at the church on Northeast Solida Drive. The girl claimed he also propositioned her for oral sex.
"I feel he has made a mockery of God's word ... that's not how a youth pastor should conduct himself," her mother told the judge.
According to a letter from the girl, read by her brother in court, Gable told her intimate details about his marriage and would discuss sexual matters with her prior to the incident, an allegation Gable denied. The girl did not appear in court.
"I never want to have to live that part of my life again," she wrote. "I'll be glad to put this behind us."
Assistant State Attorney Jason Berger said he consulted with the girl and her family before making the probation offer. He presented testimony during the hearing from the detective who investigated the case who said Gable failed three polygraph tests about what occurred; the girl, who also took the test, passed.
Gable's wife and Senior Pastor Bryan Herrington spoke on his behalf, saying he was a good father and husband and an exemplary church employee. Defense attorney Robert Watson asked for Gable to not be adjudicated guilty on the charge, which would have spared him a felony conviction, but the request was denied by Sweet.
SNAP Note: The church's senior pastor, Bryan Herrington, is listed as a Southern Baptist minister.