Youth pastor charged with molesting boy

Scott Christner

GOSHEN — A volunteer church youth leader is accused of molesting a young boy in his care.

Scott Christner, 44, is charged with one count of child molesting as a Level 4 felony. He was arrested after a victim who is younger than 14 described several incidents over the past few months that allegedly involved Christner.

He was booked in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility on $10,000 bond and given a Dec. 5 initial hearing date in Elkhart County Superior Court 3.

A level 4 felony is punishable by up to 12 years in prison.

According to court documents:

A Goshen Police detective began investigating Christner after learning of the young victim’s disclosure on Nov. 16. The boy had first opened up to his basketball coach, who had some concerns and spoke with him.

The victim was later given a forensic interview at Child and Parent Services in Elkhart. He said Christner is the leader of his youth group at church, which is in west Goshen.

He said the first incident happened when Christner took him and his brother to see a movie in Elkhart. He said Christner put his hand under his clothing, and that he felt uncomfortable but was too shocked to say anything.

The second incident was after he and his brother worked with Christner at the church’s booth at the Elkhart County Fair. The boy said it happened when he and his brother went to Christner’s house afterward to spend the night.

He said Christner grabbed his arm the next morning and told him he was sorry and wouldn’t do it again. But the boy said a third incident happened later, when he and several other kids were at Christner’s house.

The victim said he kept trying to pull away but Christner was grabbing him and not letting him go.

Christner went to the Goshen Police Department to give a statement on Thursday. He told officers about his activities as the head of children’s ministries at the church, which includes taking children to sporting events and movies.

He described an incident involving the victim that happened at a movie theater, but said he didn’t touch the boy under his clothing. He also described an incident of touching that happened at his home during the fair, but said it had only lasted for “maybe a minute.”

Christner said the boy didn’t say anything or do anything to push him away, so he didn’t think he didn’t want it. He said he apologized to him after the incident and told him it wouldn’t happen again.

He denied touching the boy a third time.

This story was updated to show Christner was a volunteer leader of the church youth ministry. 

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