Two Evangelical youth pastors and the head football coach at George Jenkins High School in Lakeland FL have been arrested and charged with separate sex crimes related to minors, according to Polk County authorities.
Polk County Sheriff's deputies arrested Coach Matthew Thompson, 30, at his apartment in Lakeland on December 14. He stands charged with two counts of sexual battery by a person of custodial authority. Investigators claim that the coach had sex several times with one of his 17-year-old female students. They apparently found messages texted by the ill-starred pair about an alleged tryst. The 17-year-old girl had spent several spent several days with Thompson at his apartment and was able to describe his bedroom.
On the same day, Polk County authorities announced the November 30 arrest of two First Assembly of God youth pastors in nearby Mulberry. Edward Demoreta, 30, and Ricard Navarro, 27, were arrested for alleged abuse of the same minor. Demoreta, a teacher employed by Florida Virtual School, is charged with three counts of lewd battery on a victim between 12 and 15 years old. The girl allegedly abused by Demoreta said she performed sexual acts with Demoreta in his classroom at Mulberry Middle School, in his car on the way home from church, also at the First Assembly of God church, where he was a youth pastor. A married man, Demoreta fessed up to his crimes. Navarro, also a former youth pastor at the same Evangelical church, is facing three felony charges, including one count of lewd or lascivious behavior with a victim between 12 and 16 years old. He apparently abused the same girl, and has since confessed to the charges.