4
| News |

Chandler Pastor Charged With Having Sex With 14-Year-Old Girl May Face Charges in Ohio

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

About two weeks ago, Chandler police arrested a pastor for having sex with a 14-year-old girl in his congregation.

Police say 25-year-old Josh O'Bannion admitted to having sex with the girl at least three times over the the last few months, while serving as youth pastor at the Christ Life Church in Tempe.

Being that this is often how these cases go, we weren't shocked today when two more young girls in the pastor's former congregation made similar allegations.

After hearing about the pastor's arrest here September 15, police in Parma, Ohio, say two girls, also 14, came forward to say that O'Bannion had engaged in sex with them, too, when he was a pastor in their church. 

Parma police spokesman Marty Compton tells New Times that while serving at the First United Pentecostal Church of Parma, O'Bannion allegedly had sex with the girls inside the church.

Did we mention that O'Bannion's grandfather is head pastor at the Ohio church?

Compton says O'Bannion served at the church from 2006 until late last year when he came to the Valley.

We can only specilate why O'Bannion left his family-run church to come here, but the allegations stem back to his starting at the Ohio church in 2006.

O'Bannion was back visiting his Ohio congregation earlier this month, before his arrest here. After seeing O'Bannon, Compton says, some of the girls at the church were "spooked."

Compton says the church isn't exactly cooperating in the investigation, that members seem  in a state of denial.

"We've seen a lot of these churches try to solve these things in house," Compton says. "Whether he saw [moving to Arizona] as a stepping stone or he was running from something, we don't know yet."

Several calls to the church were not answered or returned.

O'Bannion has not yet been charged in Ohio.

"He's already in custody so there's no real rush to charge him," he says. "We're gonna put together a strong case, take it to a prosecutor, and take it from there."

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.