WOODBRIDGE, Va. (ABP) — A former Virginia Baptist youth minister has been arrested on charges that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a teenage girl in his church.
Police in Northern Virginia’s Prince William County arrested Jason Bolton, 32, on July 13, on charges of sodomy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was held on a $3,000 bond.
According to a police crime report, Bolton developed a close friendship with the girl, now 17, in September 2007, not long after he became youth pastor at Potomac Crest Baptist Church in Woodbridge, Va. The girl told police the friendship became romantic by early 2010 and that in April she and Bolton began a consensual sexual relationship that involved multiple encounters.
Bolton, who is married and the father of three children, resigned from the church staff in May, apparently after the allegations came to light.
A profile that had appeared on the church’s website but that had been taken down by the afternoon of Aug. 12 said Bolton, a Cincinnati native, received a degree in art from the University of Delaware in 2000. After graduation he spent a year in campus ministry at the university and later served as youth minister at a church in Maryland and on the staff of Sandy Cove, a Christian conference and retreat center near North East, Md. In May 2007, he became youth pastor at Potomac Crest, located in Washington’s Northern Virginia suburbs.The church is affiliated with the Baptist General Association of Virginia, according to BGAV records.
“As a church body we are greatly saddened by the whole thing and are praying for every family and every individual involved,” said Doug Duty, Potomac Crest’s pastor. “The court process will take its course and we will continue to pray and be as supportive of all of these people as much as we can be.”
Duty declined to make additional comments, citing the ongoing nature of the legal proceedings against Bolton.
A preliminary hearing will be held in the Prince William County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. A court spokesperson said Virginia law protecting minors restricts access to information about the hearing and would not confirm if a date for it has been set.
Robert Dilday is managing editor of the Virginia Baptist Religious Herald.