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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Mark Heotzler Receives Lengthy Prison Sentence on Child Pornography Charges

mark heotzler

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.

Mark Heotzler, a youth pastor at Grace Chapel Community Church in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, pleaded no contest to four counts of depicting child sex acts on a digital file, three counts of criminal solicitation to depicting child sex acts on a digital file, disseminating explicit sex material of a minor, and sexual assault by a volunteer or employee of a nonprofit. Heotzler received a combined sentence of 7 years 6 months to 15 years in prison followed by 14 years probation on child pornography-related charges involving 10 victims, all younger than 18.

The Herald reports:

Mark William Heotzler, 30, Chambersburg, Franklin County, was sentenced this month to a combined sentence of 7 years 6 months to 15 years in state prison followed by 14 years probation on child pornography-related charges involving 10 victims, all younger than 18.

Heotzler pleaded no contest July 27 to four counts of depicting child sex acts on a digital file, three counts of criminal solicitation to depicting child sex acts on a digital file, disseminating explicit sex material of a minor, and sexual assault by a volunteer or employee of a nonprofit.

A pastor at Grace Chapel Community Church stated in August 2021 that Heotzler worked at Grace Chapel as a youth minister from May 2014 to April 2019. The church cooperated with the criminal investigation.

….

Heotzler was accused of crimes between 2015 and 2021, when state police said he made sexual advances toward minors and sent inappropriate images by text and over social media to juveniles, police said.

In the criminal complaint, police said Heotzler made sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy, by having the child remove all of his clothing and ride on Heotzler’s back.

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    velovixen

    He had a boy take off his clothes and ride on his back? In a Chelsea bar, at least, such things are done between consenting adults.

    I hope that “youth pastor” is kept as far away from kids as possible.

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