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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Joseph Niemeyer Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes

joseph niemeyer

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.

Joseph Niemeyer, youth pastor at New Banklick Baptist Church in Walton, Kentucky,  pleaded guilty yesterday and will spend at least seventeen years in prison for sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl.

In February 2016, Fox-19 reported:

A youth pastor at the New Banklick Baptist Church in Walton is facing sexual abuse charges, church officials confirm.

Joseph Niemeyer, 53, is facing three felony counts of Sexual Abuse, Rape and Sodomy. He is accused of sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl over a three-year period, court documents show.

“Mr. Niemeyer actually came to the Independence Police Department and spoke to detectives and basically self-reported,” Kenton County Prosecutor Rob Sanders said.

Court documents show the alleged abuse occurred at Niemeyer’s home in Independence.

“Mr. Niemeyer volunteered at Twenhofel Middle School for the past three years,” said Jess Dykes who is a spokesperson for the Kenton County School District.

Dykes said Niemeyer helped as a volunteer with a group known as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The group he worked with is a very small group of sixth, seventh and eighth graders who meet once a week before school, according to Dykes.

“He did help. He did help lead prayers and read Bible scriptures,” Dykes told FOX19 NOW. “He was never alone with any of the students that he was volunteering with.”

Dykes told FOX19 now that all volunteers are required to have a background check each year they volunteer, including Niemeyer. She says all of his background check reports came back clean.

FOX19 NOW asked Dykes, “Does the district have any reason to believe that there was anything that went on between Mr. Niemeyer and any of these children?”

“Not at this time. But, we are cooperating with police in any way, shape that we need to,” she said.

School officials say, at this time, Niemeyer is not allowed to volunteer in the district. The student he was working with have all been notified of what is going on, Dykes said Thursday night.

Niemeyer and his wife worked as youth pastors at the church, according to Tim Cochran, the pastor at New Banklick.

“I’m very sorry to hear what has happened in his home and we’re just praying for the family, praying this all goes well,” Cochran said. “This is a pretty big deal. It’s like a kick in the gut. He was my friend. I’m shocked really. Never in a million yeas would I have guessed anything like this.”

Independence police say they are looking into the possibility of more victims. Sanders said to expect a large investigation due to Niemeyer’s role with the church.


Yesterday, Niemeyer pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree sodomy.

Fox-19 reports:

A former youth pastor and school volunteer will spend at least 17 years behind bars after admitting guilt on charges of sexual abuse and sodomy of a minor.

Joseph Niemeyer, 56, worked with youth at the Banklick Baptist Church in Walton until he was arrested in February 2016. He also volunteered at Twenhofel Middle School.

On Monday, Niemeyer pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count first-degree sodomy, all against a girl younger than 12.

Under the plea agreement, Niemeyer will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He could spend up to 20 years in jail and must serve 17 years before being parole eligible, according to Kenton County Prosecutor Rob Sanders.

Niemeyer and his wife worked as youth pastors at the church, according to Tim Cochran, pastor at New Banklick.




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    I have to have a background check periodically for my job. The school in which I work added a layer to that, I had to be fingerprinted and pay for an FBI background check as well.

    While I don’t disagree with those precautions, a background check *can* mean that a person simply hasn’t been caught.

    I don’t believe volunteers should ever be left alone with children. No matter how long they’ve volunteered. No matter how Jesusy they are.

    I’m glad this guy has been stopped, but this is a sad story.

    • Avatar

      It is so very clear in experience/history that religious affiliation, being saved, believing, does not reach the pain that causes a sick man to harm a child (or to brutalize someone unable to protect themselves adequately like a friend or spouse.) The willingness to trust an authority figure is often directly tied to previous abuse in one’s life and the overwhelming desire to avoid harm by denying reality. Preachers are every bit as apt to abuse others as police officers and teachers. When we go to church and are schooled in self-harm and harming others, we readily adopt avoidance and denial. Otherwise it is not possible to be told we are rotten without Jesus, fallen and dirty, hopeless. If we can eat up that bullshit and not go for good therapy, then anything goes. “I never would have imagined the reverend as a child abuser! He was such a blessing to me!”
      How we love to harm and how we harm ourselves are roadmaps that could uncover our own, often early life pain but we have trouble facing it, really facing what has happened. I always wish that abusers like this Joseph the preacher, would have their histories revealed so we could make better connections regarding how men fall into harming others/themselves. We know Charlie Manson’s story to some extent and it confirms that sick fucks are not invented by some magical Satan running over the earth but by harsh harms done to them from very early on in their lives. Why is there such disinterest in this?

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