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Tag: Michael Sasser

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Student Minister Michael Sasser Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Sexually Molesting a Family Member

michael sasser

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.

Michael Sasser, a student minister at Redeemer Church in Modesto, California, pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a family member and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Redeemer Church is affiliated with the Acts 29 Network.

The Modesto Bee reports:

A Modesto man who stepped down from his role as a church youth leader a month before his arrest has pleaded guilty to molesting a family member.

Michael Sasser, 41, was arrested in April on suspicion of three counts of child molestation for acts that occurred during a period of months in 2022.

On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to the continuous sexual abuse of a child and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. As a result of the plea, two other counts of child molestation were dropped.

“It was in the best interest of all parties involved that this case be resolved quickly, as opposed to being long and drawn out,” said Sasser’s attorney Rebecka A. Monez. “The plea represents the reality of the crimes, and the defense is content with the resolution.”

The prosecutor on the case said in court that she talked at length with the victim about giving an impact statement, but the victim ultimately declined.

Sasser was co-leader of the student ministry at Redeemer Church on H Street in Modesto before stepping down Feb. 28, about a month before his arrest, lead pastor Patrick Nagle said in April. Sasser cited “personal reasons” and “to focus on himself and his family,” the pastor said. Sasser also previously served as a church elder. Both were volunteer roles, Nagle said.

Police said there was no evidence to suggest that anyone in the youth group was a victim. Nagle said the church was notified about the criminal investigation sometime in March before Sasser’s arrest. “We notified parents that there was an issue that took place in the home and CPS (Child Protective Services) and police were involved,” Nagle said in April. “We made it clear as well to parents that he is no longer allowed to serve in any capacity here or allowed in the building.”

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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Bruce Gerencser