Crime

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.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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