POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida youth pastor is accused of trying to have sex with a 17-year-old girl in his youth group after discussing sexual fantasies and driving the two to a hotel, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office said Highlands Church of Christ in Lakeland reported to deputies last week that 29-year-old Andrew Pierce Weaver, a married youth pastor at the church, may be engaged in an “inappropriate relationship” with the victim, leading to his arrest Monday.
Deputies said Weaver and the 17-year-old were in contact between September 2020 and January 2021.
The girl told the sheriff’s office that she showed nude photos of herself on her phone to Weaver, but she said Weaver asked her to never send them to him, according to deputies. The PCSO said the girl told them she thought he asked this to avoid “getting in trouble” and he also asked her to keep their interactions a secret.
“She talked of fantasies that involved him and one thing led to another. And instead of him being the adult in the room, instead of him being the appropriate counselor in the room, he creates a relationship with a 17-year-old child,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during a news conference Wednesday.
The victim told deputies she and Weaver went to a Best Western hotel on Dec. 29, 2020, and were half-naked when a maid knocked on the door, scaring Weaver, according to the sheriff’s office. Afterward, the two put their clothes back on and went back to the church.
“He was having some inappropriate counseling with her at that time when an angel appeared at the door, in the form of a maid, and knocked on the door,” the sheriff said. “Well that freaked him out. They stopped their in-depth counseling and fled, and he took the young lady back to the church.”
The sheriff’s office said Weaver told deputies he did take the girl to the hotel after they discussed sexual fantasies.
“There are hundreds of thousands of youth ministers that do the right thing every day and provide counsel and leadership and adult supervision to youth who are in need of appropriate leadership,” Judd said. “This guy is an embarrassment to every one of those.”
Weaver faces charges of attempted unlawful sex with a minor and interference with child custody.