Thursday, June 24, 2010

Boy says church volunteer abused him

Boy says church volunteer abused him
By Danny Valentine, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Thursday, June 24, 2010

ST. PETERSBURG — A church volunteer was accused Wednesday of sexually abusing a young boy he met at church.

Stephen Charles Greeley, 40, was arrested on charges of sexual battery and lewd and lascivious molestation. St. Petersburg police said his victim is younger than 12 years old.

Greeley was being held at the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday night without bail.

Greeley met the boy and his parents more than a year ago at Northside Baptist Church, 6000 38th Ave. N, where he is an unpaid volunteer in a children's program, police said.

Greeley befriended the boy and earned his parents' trust, then volunteered to babysit, police said.

In late May, the boy began acting out sexually, police said. The boy later told his parents about sex acts with Greeley, police said.

The next day, the boy's father spoke with the church pastor. Police said the pastor advised the father to call the child abuse hotline. The pastor said that if the father didn't call the hotline, he would, police said.

The boy's father did make the call, prompting an investigation.

The boy had been an excellent student, according to a teacher interviewed by police, and won achievement awards in school. His school performance began to decline after the abuse began, police said.

Investigators don't believe there are any other victims. Greeley has no other arrests in Florida.

In a statement released Wednesday, church officials said they will continue to follow safeguards.

"We will be in prayer for the child, family involved and for the accused," the statement from the elder board reads. "Our prayer is also that the truth will come to light and justice will prevail."

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