An ex-youth pastor at a Georgia church is behind bars after cops say he had a sexual relationship with a teen girl he was supposed to be counseling.
According to Gwinnett County Police, Nicholas Kelley had a year-long sexual relationship with a 14-year-old member of New Bridge Church in Lawrenceville.
Police say the relationship began in December 2015 when Kelley, 34, started working with the girl as her counselor.
The relationship allegedly became sexual, with Kelley having sexual contact with the teen in local parks and even in the church itself, according to authorities.
According to WGCL, church elders learned of the alleged relationship after the girl’s parents found out.
“Apparently she was concerned that her parents were going to find out about the relationship and this made her very upset, uncontrollably upset, so it required some type of medical intervention,” said Gwinnett County Police Spokesperson Deon Washington.
While the girl was in the hospital, the parents reportedly learned of the relationship.
At about the same time, church elders brought Kelley in for a meeting regarding the accusations.
It was then when officials say Kelley “admitted to varying degrees of inappropriate physical interaction with the student” and was fired from the church.
In a statement, the church said:
“Based on information offered by the accused student pastor in the aforementioned meeting, the student pastor was immediately and permanently terminated from his employment at New Bridge Church.
“The active Elders of New Bridge Church are cooperating fully with the investigators, while simultaneously supplying pastoral guidance to the victim who brought the charges against the student pastor.
“Our commitment is to continue to offer our help to the impacted principal parties and their families, offering assistance in accordance with biblical guidelines, all the while remaining available and fully cooperative to the investigative process by the local authorities.
“The goal is to learn the full truth of what has occurred, and to continue to respond accordingly as we provide care for the victim and her family, and also for the family of the accused.”
Kelley has been charged with child molestation, statutory rape and aggravated sexual battery, according to police records online. He’s being held without bond.
A message left for Kelley’s attorney, Robert Greenwald, was not immediately returned Friday afternoon.