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.
Jarrett Booker, pastor of worship and youth ministry at Nashua Baptist Church in Nashua, New Hampshire, was accused of sexually assaulting several minors. Nashua Baptist, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, fired Booker. Two days later he killed himself.
A New Hampshire youth pastor killed himself two days after he was fired amidst a police investigation into “credible allegations” of child sexual abuse against him, according to members of his church.
Jarrett Booker, 37, who served as pastor of Worship and Youth Ministry at Nashua Baptist Church for nearly a decade, took his own life on Nov. 27 “refusing to face the consequences of his actions,” church elders and deacons said in a lengthy statement on the congregation’s website last week.
“Nashua Baptist Church unequivocally condemns all forms of abuse. It is evil and our God hates it,” the church leaders said. “We are committed to transparency and to supporting the healing process for victims.
“We have been, and will continue to, fully cooperate with law enforcement in this investigation and had encouraged Jarrett to do the same.”
A Facebook profile for Booker says he was previously the youth pastor at Childrey Baptist Church in Nathalie, Virginia.
A request for comment was not immediately returned from that church to The Messenger on Tuesday.
Officials at Nashua Baptist Church said that on Nov. 22, they became aware that Booker was the subject of a “criminal investigation concerning credible allegations of sexual abuse against minors.”
Church leaders opened an internal review “which revealed further evidence of misconduct,” and Booker was fired on Nov. 25, the statement said.
To preserve the integrity of the police probe, congregants were initially only told on Nov. 26 that Booker was the subject of an investigation and that the church had decided to fire him, officials said.
Booker died from suicide the next day, according to the church.
“This event has added immeasurably to the complexity and pain of the situation,” the church officials said, adding that congregants were later informed of the allegations against Booker on Nov. 29, after his death.
Spokesmen for police departments in both Nashua and neighboring Hollis confirmed to The Messenger on Tuesday that Booker was under investigation for allegations of child sex assault at the time of his death, but said they were unable to comment further.
In his Facebook profile, Booker described himself as “just an unfaithful and unholy sinner changed by a faithful and Holy God.”
Nashua Baptist released a statement, which you can read here.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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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