Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Church Youth Leader Admits Sexual Battery of 14 Year old

Lakeport church youth leader admits sexual battery

Published: Monday, February 1, 2010 at 10:21 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 1, 2010 at 11:59 a.m.

A Lake County church youth counselor has pleaded guilty to sexual battery on a 14-year-old girl.

Christopher Andrew Puryear, 23, of Kelseyville, faces a sentence that ranges from probation to five years in prison, said Lake County Deputy District Attorney Ed Borg.

Puryear was arrested in December after church leaders from Gateway Ministries church outside Lakeport reported he was having inappropriate contacts with at least one teen in a youth group. He was spending a great of time with girls in the group and sending them text messages, they reported.

During the investigation, deputies learned of the Nov. 25 sexual assault at a church function. Puryear asked the girl to go outside to talk, then assaulted her, stopping only after someone else came outside, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

In exchange for his guilty plea, charges of forced oral copulation and dissuading a witness were dropped in connection with Puryear's assault on the girl and a charge of domestic assault on his wife was dropped, Borg said.

The domestic assault on Puryear's wife occurred after the assault on the girl, Borg said. Puryear also had a prior conviction for domestic assault, he said.

As part of the agreement, reached Friday, Puryear also admitted to serving a prior prison sentence for carrying a concealed or concealable weapon, an admission that could add a year to his sentence, Borg said.

Had he not made the plea agreement, Puryear could have faced a sentence of more than nine years in prison, said his attorney, Stephen Carter.

Puryear is scheduled to be sentenced March 5.

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