Youth Pastor arrested for sexual misconduct with 14-year-old girl
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - According to Lyle, Kelley is married with three children of his own and was a volunteer for five years before the church hired him in 2015.
"We're simultaneously ministering to the victim and her family also to the wife of the accused," Lyle said.
Gwinnett Police urge parents whose children attend New Bridge to talk to them about their interactions with Kelley to determine whether there may have been other inappropriate relationships.
"Our fear in law enforcement is that when someone uses their position in this particular type of capacity is that there are additional victims that are unknown," said Cpl. Washington. "It's very disturbing when someone would use their position as a pastor and also as a counselor to exploit a young child sexually."
Church officials, however, said in talking with Kelley they are confident this was an isolated incident.
"There's no reason to believe that it went beyond the one individual teenage girl and the student pastor," Lyle explained.
Kelley remains in the Gwinnett County Jail without bond.
In a statement released by the church:
“On Tuesday, December 27, 2016, it was brought to the attention of the Lead Pastors of New Bridge Church that a student pastor had been accused of an inappropriate relationship with a high school student. The student pastor was immediately summoned to a meeting with the two Lead Pastors, another pastor and an additional Elder of the church. In this meeting the accused student pastor admitted to varying degrees of inappropriate physical interaction with the student. After agreeing to surrender himself to the local authorities to begin the process of facing the charges against him, the police were called and they took the student pastor into their custody at the church office. Thus far, we are confident that this was an isolated incident and no other students were involved. The activities referenced in the criminal charges occurred outside of scheduled church meetings and events, which allowed the accused to circumvent safety procedures established as church policy to protect our students. Based on information offered by the accused student pastor in the aforementioned meeting, the student pastor was immediately and permanently terminated from his employment at New Bridge Church. The active Elders of New Bridge Church are cooperating fully with the investigators, while simultaneously supplying pastoral guidance to the victim who brought the charges against the student pastor. Our commitment is to continue to offer our help to the impacted principal parties and their families, offering assistance in accordance with biblical guidelines, all the while remaining available and fully cooperative to the investigative process by the local authorities. The goal is to learn the full truth of what has occurred, and to continue to respond accordingly as we provide care for the victim and her family, and also for the family of the accused.”
If anyone has any information to share in this case, or if there is a need to report a separate incident, please contact the Special Victims Unit at 770-513-5300.