Lakeland Youth Minister arrested for illegal sexual conduct with a minor

A young pastor at the Highlands Church of Christ in Lakeland was arrested Tuesday for attempting to have sex with a 17-year-old girl in his youth group, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.

Highlands Church of Christ officials denounced Pastor Andrew Pierce Weaver, 29, to the sheriff’s office after learning of his behavior, sheriff officials said. Weaver was arrested for attempted illegal sex with a minor and interfering with the custody of the children.

For several months, Weaver maintained an inappropriate informal relationship with the teenager, Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference on Wednesday. The teenager told sheriff officials that Weaver frequently viewed personal nude photos that she stored on her cell phone, although he asked her not to share them with him electronically.

In late December, Weaver and the girl met in the church parking lot and drove to the Best Western Motel in Mulberry with the intention of having sex. The two were interrupted by a cleaning worker knocking on the door. The coup surprised Weaver and ended the meeting before the two engaged in sexual activity, sheriff officials said.

Weaver admitted to investigators that he led the girl into the motel room, and Best Western records are checking the timeline, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.

Weaver told sheriff officials he believed he “crossed the line” with the girl, according to the press release.

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