Former church youth leader accused of sexual misconduct with a minor

A former Blackford County church youth leader was arrested over the weekend on sexual misconduct with a minor charges.

Joseph Pennington, 32, was arrested on three felony charges after being accused of engaging in misconduct with a child between 14 and 16 years old in 2010 and 2011, stated court documents.

Pennington was a former part-time director of youth ministries at the Hartford Wesleyan Church in Hartford City, Ind.

The church’s senior pastor, Rev. Tom Parsons, said Pennington was not ordained but was taking classes through the FLAME program, a course designed to help adult ministerial students to prepare for ministry in the local church.

Rev. Parsons released the following statement Tuesday:

“The congregation of Hartford City Wesleyan is brokenhearted on so many fronts. One of our part-time staff members has made a regrettable choice which has resulted in tragic consequences. Though our greatest concern is for the offended party, we will continue to love the accused and seek ways to walk with all who are involved.”

Pennington will appear in court for his initial hearing later this month.

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