TOMBALL, Texas - A former student minister at Champion Forest Baptist Church is accused of sending nude photos to an underage girl.
Timothy Jeltema is charged with online solicitation.
Jeltema, 28, was a former student minister at Champion Forest Baptist Church in northwest Harris County. The girl's family and the church alerted Tomball police on June 9 about the photos.
According to police, the girl said Jeltema sent her numerous nude photos of himself over a period of several months. He also requested sexually explicit photos of the girl and asked to meet her for sex, police said.
Jeltema was arrested on June 12. He remains in jail.
Detectives said they believe Jeltema has requested nude photos of 20-25 additional girls between the ages of 14 and 17.
Police said Jeltema made several out-of-state trips as a student minister, including to New Orleans, Louisiana, and Panama City, Florida. He also participated in church camp activities at Carolina Creek and Huntsville, Texas.
Jeltema is originally from Clearwater, Florida.
Tomball police said Jeltema used the following handles on social media accounts on Snapchat and Instagram:
Anyone who is following the above accounts or who was contacted by Jeltema is asked to call Detective Smith at 281-290-1315.
Champion Forest Baptist Church released the following statement:
"Yesterday Timothy 'Timmy' Jeltema, a former student pastor at the North Klein campus of Champion Forest Baptist Church, was arrested by the Tomball Police Department and charged with online solicitation of a minor. Our church made the initial contact with local law enforcement concerning this matter and is engaged and cooperating fully with this investigation.
"Jeltema's employment with us was terminated on May 15, 2018, the same day he was accused of, and admitted to, improper contact via social media with an 18-year-old member of our church. Though no laws were known to have been broken at that time, he was immediately dismissed for a clear violation of the church's written code of conduct and his admission that he did not follow Champion Forest policies and regulations that pastors of students and adult volunteers must never communicate electronically one-on-one with students. Champion Forest has zero tolerance for a lack of adherence to its Safe and Secure policies, including the inappropriate use of social media and electronic communication with students.
"Yesterday’s arrest, however, stems from allegations that surfaced one month after his termination from Champion Forest Baptist Church—and that we immediately reported to law enforcement—in which a female teenage minor made claims against Jeltema of online sexual misconduct.
"Champion Forest Baptist Church takes any allegation of sexual misconduct very seriously. The safety and security of our children and students is our No. 1 priority. We are heartbroken and grieve with those who are victims of any kind of sexual impropriety. We are seeking now to support all victims and their families in every way possible; we are praying for healing and restoration for any victims, known and unknown; and we humbly ask our entire community to join us in prayer for all of those impacted.
"We also encourage anyone with information regarding potential criminal activity, especially any victims, to contact law enforcement immediately. The Tomball Police Department can be reached at 281.351.5451.
"We are extremely saddened by this heartbreaking situation. For more than a decade, our church has had multiple layers of policies and procedures in place—including a national background check that is performed on all staff and volunteers who work with children and youth up to age 18 when they apply and again every two years—to try to ensure this would never happen. These written and agreed-upon expectations of employees and volunteers include high standards of conduct and accountability as safeguards for both them and those under their care.
"In light of this situation, however, we are conducting a thorough review of our policies and procedures to ensure every possible safeguard is in place to protect anyone, especially young people, from any predatory behavior. We will remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent such behavior, and swift and resolute in dealing appropriately with any situation known to us that is inconsistent with our values and our priority to protect our children and students at all times and in every way possible."
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