Former pastor gets 78 months for abuses

POULSBO — A former Eglon Community Church pastor who admitted to molesting two young girls has received six and one-half years in jail for his crimes.

In a strongly-worded order Sept. 7, Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Leonard Costello sentenced Scott Williams Roberts, 44, of Eglon to 78 months in prison for two counts of child molestation in the first degree.

Roberts had petitioned the court for a sex offender sentencing alternative (SOSA), which allows the defendant to undergo treatment in addition to possible jail time. But Costello chose to deny the SOSA plea and gave Roberts six and one-half years in a Department of Corrections facility.

“Basically, what he said was he felt this was a very serious abuse of trust,” explained Neil Wachter, division head for the special assault unit for the Prosecutor’s Office. “He felt Mr. Roberts had been inconsistent with his disclosure and the judge mentioned that he felt a message had to be sent to someone who was in that type of authority.”

Roberts was arrested in April after Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputies were tipped off to an incident that occurred at a February sleepover at Roberts’ home while he was still pastor of the Eglon church. A 9-year-old girl reported to family members that she woke up in the middle of the night to feel Roberts inappropriately touching her back and hand with his “private parts.”

The victim’s family members confronted Roberts after being told of the incident. The pastor admitted to the actions and stepped down from his position. But the molestation was not reported to authorities until late April.

Roberts had pleaded guilty to one count of child molestation when the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s office announced last week that it intended to make a second filing. A similar molestation had been discovered during the course of the first investigation, as well as the possibility of other incidents for which sufficient evidence was lacking.

By agreement of the parties involved, Roberts was sentenced Wednesday for both counts.

“That was done in that fashion because otherwise we’d be filing a new charge and a new case number and this was a minimum effort way to do that,” Wachter said.

Adding the second charge upped Roberts’ sentencing range from 51-68 months to 67-89 months. Costello chose 78 months, for which Roberts will be credited for the time he’s already spent in jail since his arrest. In accordance with Washington’s “Three Strikes and You’re Out” law, Roberts could get life in prison if ever convicted of a similar crime.

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