Youth pastor accused of having sex with 16-year-old
Lorri Helfand and Rita Farlow
St. Petersburg Times
April 1, 2009
A youth pastor was arrested this week, accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl in a Palm Harbor home.
Scott Dewayne Wright, 35, who lives in New Port Richey, turned himself into Pinellas authorities Monday. He was charged with two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Wright was being held at the Pinellas County Jail on $20,000 bail.
Detectives say Wright met the teen in September 2006 when he was a youth pastor at Calvary Chapel in New Port Richey.
The next year, according to authorities, Wright befriended the teen, and at least twice between September and November 2007, he engaged in sexual activity with her.
A year later, detectives began investigating the case after the teen's parents contacted authorities. The parents reportedly learned of the incidents from their daughter's counselor.
In 2005, Wright was featured in the St. Petersburg Times in a story about a weekly program for teens at Calvary Chapel.
"We have a youth that is in crisis, and we need to reach out to them before it's too late," said Wright, who headed the program.
Wright later worked for the Crossing Church in Tampa for a period of time, according to the church's Web site. Tuesday evening, a church pastor there said Wright no longer works there.
According to his biography on the Web site, Wright is married with four children. The site, which referred to Wright as "Pastor Scott" said he began working at that church as student director in 2007. It also said that he "has a great drive to take youth on overseas missions trips every year."
SNAP note: Crossing Church in Tampa is shown as a church affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.