Five church officials accused of failing to report youth pastor Jason Roberson child-sex assault
Back in September, we told you about the arrest of youth pastor and musician Jason Roberson for child sex assault, after a former church member accused him of an inappropriate relationship that lasted seven years, beginning when she was fifteen; see our previous coverage below.
Now, five church officials have been cited for failing to report the allegations -- and we've learned that Roberson was reportedly the son of a senior preacher at the institution. Photos, video and details below.
As we've reported, Roberson's website, which features Christian-music videos, recordings and speeches about his faith, describes him as "son, husband, and father" employed at Longmont's VineLife Church. "I love the songs and sounds that unveil the heart of God in his people."
In his bio, he quotes from the Book of Isiah: "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair....."
The accusations against Roberson stand in stark contrast to these writings. In 2005, according to an arrest report in his name, a then-fifteen-year-old girl sought an internship at VineLife even as she and Roberson, a friend of her family, started texting and calling each other.
Over the course of that year, the relationship is said to have escalated to the point where Roberson would allegedly come to her school and meet with her as she was going from one class to another. Then, the alleged victim told investigators, he showed her a photo on his cell phone he said he couldn't erase -- of his penis.
More troubling claims: She said Roberson told her she was dressed inappropriately, then watched as she changed; discussed topics like masturbation; and eventually started groping her breasts, often in his church office.
In the beginning, Roberson faced one count each of sexual exploitation of a child, unlawful sexual contact and sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust. Later, the Boulder DA's office also targeted him with a stalking beef.
Now, however, Roberson isn't the only VineLife name in trouble with the law. Executive pastor Robert ("Bob") Young, pastor Luke Humbrecht and elders Edward Bennell and Warren Williams have all received citations for duty to report child abuse, and a thus-far-unnamed fifth official will as well once he returns from a trip out of the country. That's because the woman told investigators she met with folks at the church about Roberson way back in March -- months before his arrest.
The officials suspended Roberson and launched an investigation into his actions. However, they didn't immediately inform law enforcement, as the law requires them to do.
Look below to see a 9News report about the latest developments, followed by our previous coverage.
Continue to read our previous coverage of Jason Roberson's arrest, including photos, a music video and more. Original coverage, 8:25 a.m. September 6: On his website, Jason Roberson, a Christian musician, public speaker and former youth pastor at Longmont's VineLife Church, describes himself as "son, husband, and father. I love the songs and sounds that unveil the heart of God in his people." Something he presumably enjoys less is notoriety that comes with being arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. He allegedly had an inappropriate, seven-year relationship with a young woman beginning when she was fifteen. Photos, video, recordings and more below.
Here's the bio of Roberson, 35, from the aforementioned website, IAmJasonRoberson.com, along with the portrait of him that accompanies it:
I was born in Boulder, Colorado on December 25th... The Christmas baby born the son of a Worship leader who was never supposed to make it. I was rushed immediately to Denver children's hospital for emergency care, struggling to breathe and fighting for life due to heart problems as the story has been told. My father tells me that God spoke to his heart that Christmas morning and directed him to name me Jason.
Not knowing it's meaning but liking the name I was named Jason Allen Roberson on the first day of my life. By the time that I arrived in Denver and observed by the Doctors, it was declared that I was completely healthy. It was a mystery to many at the time, but it makes complete sense when you know the rest of the story. You see, Jason means healer and God proved himself to be just that on the very first day of my life. Ever since then my life has been about healing in some way shape or form. In many ways my life has been shaped around the name that God has given me and the words found in the book of Isaiah chapter 61.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair...." Sometimes healing or freedom comes in physical ways and other times it is a matter of the heart and mind. Regardless, my passion is to see these things take places in the lives of people. I love the many ways that this happens along the way as well. Some days it's the carefully crafted words to a song, or talk on a Sunday morning. Other times it's simply the faith filled prayers from one of Gods kids that brings healing to another. And so these are the things that excite me these days more than anything. One day you'll find me in the recording studio working on a new song for our local church community. Another day I may be locked away in study looking for just the right words to say as I prepare for another talk for our church family. Still, some days I may just happen to be next to you at a local coffee shop starring into my MacBook.
In addition, the site features a number of recordings, including the 2011 EP All Things New, as well as a video for the song "Let It Be." Here's the clip, followed by his online description of its inspiration:
Some of my most treasured moments in life are the ones when I get to share my passions and gifting with my wife and daughters. As exciting as it is to travel and serve with close friends around the world, it's so much more fulfilling when one of my girls gets to share those journey's and special moments with me. I had one of those special moments recently.
While working on a new song during the election season last fall, I found myself faced with this question... What have I placed my hopes and trust in? This song was the result of those questions and prayer times in the early morning hours at home.
When I finished the song I showed it to my oldest daughter Madelyn and made an amazing discovery.... She is a way better singer than I am! So with a huge amount of pride in my first born I couldn't resist asking Madelyn to sing with me in the recording studio for her very first time ever. I'm sure you'll be hearing much more from her in the very near future.
Another page on the site is devoted to "recent teachings." Here's an embed of the first in the roster, "A Royal Priesthood."
Also accessible, on a name-your-price basis, are a handful of additional teachings, including "A Culture of Worship," "A Seed That is Sown," "If You Love Me," "Permission to Trade" and "We Seek Your Face."
To put it mildly, this material makes Roberson seem like the least likely person imaginable to be the focus of a criminal investigation, let alone one dealing with such a serious offense. But that's precisely what happened. Here are the details.
The cover of the EP "All Things New."
In 2005, according to an arrest report from May obtained by 7News, a then-fifteen-year-old girl sought an internship at VineLife even as she and Roberson, a friend of her family, started texting and calling each other.
Over the course of that year, the relationship escalated to the point where he would allegedly come to her school and meet with her as she was going from one class to another. Then, the alleged victim told investigators, he showed her a photo on his cell phone he said he couldn't erase -- of his penis.
More troubling claims: Roberson is said to have told the girl that she was dressed inappropriately, then watched as she changed; discussed topics like masturbation; and eventually started groping her breasts, often in his church office.
VineLife Church in Longmont.
Such actions reportedly led the young woman to drift away from VineLife and get involved at another church, where confidantes with whom she shared her experiences encouraged her to press her case against Roberson. This past March, she did so with elders at VineLife, who suspended him and launched an inquiry in which he's said to have admitted most of the behavior mentioned by the woman, now 23 -- although he denied that he'd shown her the penis photo on purpose.
Finally, on Wednesday, Roberson turned himself in at Boulder County Jail in relation to allegations of sex assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and invasion of privacy.
Look below to see Roberson's booking photo, followed by the 7News report.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa April 2011: "Charles Jenkins, former Colorado Springs youth pastor, gets 24 years for sexually assaulting teen."
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