Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Gary Spear Sentenced to House Arrest and Probation for Sex Crime

pastor gary spear

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Gary Spear, youth pastor at Mitchell Church of Christ in Mitchell, Indiana, was sentenced Wednesday to 1 1/2 years of house arrest and 1 1/2 years of supervised probation for child seduction. I’m shocked by the fact that Spear received no jail time for inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor he was counseling.

In October 2016, WBIW reported:

A Mitchell man was arrested Friday after police say he made sexual advances against a teenage girl while he was a youth minister at Mitchell Church of Christ.

Police arrested 45-year-old Gary Spear on a felony charge of child seduction.

According to a Lawrence County Superior Court II probable cause affidavit, on May 2 a woman reported to the Lawrence County Police Department that she had been assaulted by Spear. The incidents happened between 2011 and 2013 when she was between 16 and 18 years old.

In 2010, the teen was receiving counseling from Spear because her parents were getting a divorce. The victim told police that the alleged incidents happened during those weekly counseling sessions when Spear was the youth minister at Mitchell Church of Christ.

Spear told the girl that he considered her as his daughter and, as a daughter, she should give him hugs and kisses. The woman reported Spear would lay on top of her and he would have her sit on his lap while he kissed her. She also claims Spear fondled and touched her inappropriately during these incidents that happened several times a week in the church, at his home and in his truck.


Spear served as the community engagement facilitator for the Mitchell Community Public Library. He was also the co-host and director of Hoosier Hometown Live, a popular variety radio show. He is no longer employed at the library.

Spear describes himself this way on his blog bio page:

Hi! I’m Gary. Thanks for stopping in for a read. I’m writing from a place I’m glad to call home here in southern Indiana. I grew up just down the road, then wandered away to two different colleges before settling down back here, near home. I’m a Youth Minister with a church family dedicated to being the body of Jesus in this hurting world through serving and loving people. My parents showed me how to love God and now my wife and children teach me about God in ways I could never learn alone. I’ve also been blessed to write for some publications and speak many interesting places. Some thoughts on this blog are from past publications or presentations but most will be what I’m thinking of as I prepare for the future. I like traveling to share my thoughts but I mostly long to be home these days; in Mitchell and more for Heaven.

Feel free to add me on Facebook if you know me personally want an easier way to chat than here on the blog. You can click above in the first paragraph where my name is to open my profile.

Until we get home, I’m excited about every new day’s journey with the Ancient of Days.  God is ever present and amazing as He saves us as Son, walks with us as Spirit and waits for us as Father. He calls us to journey and He is the journey. These are the eternal truths and mysteries I hope to ponder here: that the great I Am has chosen to delight in Me.

In a 2012 blog post, Spear wrote:

At the very least today, think about how you value sexuality in your life and how you’re guiding and influencing the people around you. Be intentional in your example, attitude and guidance. The young people in your life will grow up to thank you for helping them have less emotional baggage to take into adulthood.

I wonder how much emotional baggage Spear’s victim is carrying thanks to his predatory behavior?


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