A former youth pastor is being charged for allegedly assaulting a 14-year-old member of his religious community from 1996 to 1998.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the charges against 52-year-old Robert Fenton who is allegedly associated with a church in the Queensland area of Australia as a pastor.
"His alleged victim, now in her 40s, reported to the Pennsylvania State Police that the defendant began sexually abusing her when she was approximately 14 years old and Fenton was 26," said Shapiro's office.
He is now charged with statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault and related charges, according to Shapiro's office.
"These interviews corroborated the victim’s allegations, stating that they recalled then 26-year-old Fenton was in a “relationship” with the victim and understood them to be “betrothed” with the blessing of their religious community," said the release.
Investigators interviewed multiple former church officials and associates of the alleged victim between July 2021 and February 2022, according to the release.
“The defendant used his power and authority in his religious community to lie, manipulate and regularly abuse a young girl in his community. I promised we would hold anyone who was abusing children accountable – and Robert Fenton is no exception,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “Survivors experience a lifetime of anguish and trauma trying to overcome the impact of abuse. I want survivors to know – we believe you, and we will not let predators get away with the sexual assault of children.”