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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Alexander Blackwelder Accused of Having Sex with Minor


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.

Alexander Blackwelder, a youth pastor at East Main Street Church of Christ in Tupelo, Mississippi, stands accused of having sex with a sixteen-year-old church girl. Blackwelder has been charged with two counts of sexual battery and enticement of a child to produce visual depictions of adult sexual conduct.

The Daily Journal reports:

Alexander Blackwelder, 26, of Tupelo, is charged with two counts of sexual battery and enticement of a child to produce visual depictions of adult sexual conduct.

“I think the charges are serious enough that we need to keep you,” Tupelo Municipal Court Judge Willie Allen said as he denied bond.

Tupelo police detective Hal Veal said authorities received a tip on Feb. 15 that the youth pastor at East Main Street Church of Christ was having an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old girl. During the initial interview with the girl and her parents, the girl denied any improprieties but said she had talked with Blackwelder and communicated via Snapchat.

The parents signed a consent form to allow detectives to search the girl’s phone. Veal said there were sexual videos and pictures on her phone and conversations with Blackwelder that made him believe they were having sex.

When questioned on Feb. 17 by police, Blackwelder also denied having an inappropriate relationship. But when brought back to the police station Wednesday, he allegedly admitted their relationship started in October 2022 and was more than just friendship.

“He admitted that they had sexual intercourse on two occasions and exchanged inappropriate video and pictures,” Veal said.

Blackwelder was booked into the Lee County Jail Feb. 22 around 5 p.m. He has been initially charged with enticement for allegedly getting the victim to send nude pictures and videos. If convicted of that charge, he could face up to 40 years in prison. The sexual battery charges carry up to 30 years in prison for each count.

Blackwelder has retained Ashland-based Tony Farese as his attorney. But during the initial appearance Thursday afternoon, he was represented by public defender Dennis Farris, who asked for a $100,000 bond.

Prosecutor Richard Babb opposed bond, noting that this is still an open investigation and wanted to make sure there are no other victims.


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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Bruce Gerencser