The 35 year old youth pastor at Faith Brethren Bible Church has been arrested and charged with statutory sexual assault.
Wesley Blackburn was turned in by the senior pastor at the church, Jim Espenshade, after receiving a call from Blackburn’s wife. After Espenshade found out about the alleged relations, he knew what he had to do. He said, “I was going to protect this young lady, I was going to protect the rest of the youth group. I was going to help this family pick up its pieces. There was no other course I was going to take.”
The investigation is ongoing and Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins said the church handled this correctly. Higgins said, “Everybody acted appropriately as soon as the information was found out. The church acted appropriately and has been cooperative with the investigation. There is no indication that anybody knew about it other that the two people involved. As soon as it was discovered it was immediately reported to the authorities who took prompt action.”
On why he acted quickly he explained, “Listen, I have a 14-year-old granddaughter. I didn’t need any other information at that point.”
Espenshade says he was set on firing Blackburn immediately after receiving the call from Blackburn’s wife. He says the deacon board was in agreement. He explained, “There wasn’t a single man, and there was six of them, that batted an eye. Every one of them, ‘he has to go, he has to go and he has to be arrested.’ And that’s what we did.”
Blackburn was arrested at the church and taken into the custody. He is currently in the Bedford County Jail on $200,000 bail.