A 31-year-old youth pastor at Columbia Road Baptist Church from North Olmsted, Ohio, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for four counts of sexual battery against an underage teenager in his congregation.
In a letter to the judge who sentenced Brian Mitchell, his victim explained that she had sought his guidance on spiritual matters as a Christian adult she admired, but Mitchell began texting her repeatedly, although innocently, at first.
When other church leaders were made aware of the texts, instead of firing the youth pastor or at least moving him to a different role in the church that did not require him to work with teenaged girls, Mitchell was simply told to stop. He stopped for awhile, but began again later with a more sexual tone that became uncomfortable for the teen, who says the texts increased in frequency.
Mitchell’s victim did not come forward at that time out of fear.
Later, the youth pastor entrusted with the lives and spiritual growth of young people in his charge offered the young girl a ride home. When they arrived, the girl says Mitchell kissed her and told her he wanted to see her again.
After that first drive, Mitchell began sexually assaulting the girl, raping her first in his car and then at his home while his wife was out of town.
‘I did not give him permission. I clearly said “no, didn’t want to.” I felt like he tricked me.’
The young girl became depressed and began failing at school, alarming her mother, who says the teen had been a good student involved in sports and other school activities.
Once the rapes were reported to the church, they were reported to Fairview Park Police. Mitchell was indicted and then sentenced on Thursday by a judge in Cuyahoga County, Peter Corrigan. Judge Corrigan was disturbed by Mitchell’s excuse for his crimes when he said that he thought he and his victim were in love and had a future together. Mitchell plead to be only house arrest in order to continue raising his three children, all under the age of 8 years old.
‘Your delusional excuse — that there were emotions and love involved — is troubling. That’s extremely delusional.’
While this is a case in which a judge completely got rape, and especially statutory rape, absolutely correct, the poor victim’s church did not. The young girl and her family no longer attend services at Columbia Road Baptist Church.
The victim’s mother says that’s because church leaders ordered the girl’s mother to apologize to the convicted rapist’s wife in order to return.
There are no reports that say the church apologized for not firing Mitchell as soon as the inappropriate text messages were reported, and no reports that the church offered further support of the young victim, who the judge said was a “perfect example of the psychological damage caused by these types of crimes.”
Instead, the church blames the young victim and her mother for the adult man’s crimes. They don’t see the teenage girl as a victim of rape, apparently, they just see the pastor’s wife as the victim of a philandering husband.
Rape is not a sexual relationship. It is not a crime of passion. It’s simply a crime.
The victim is never, ever to blame.
Featured image via Cleveland.com