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Former Henrico youth pastor charged with sex crimes against a child

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A former Henrico youth pastor has been arrested after being accused of having a sexual relationship with a child in his care at the church.

Investigators say Aaron Thomas Payne, 20, took indecent liberties with a minor on several occasions while he was in a custodial role at the Henrico church.

CBS 6 is not releasing the name of the church at this time.

Payne has been charged with five counts of taking indecent liberties with a child.

Aaron Thomas Payne

Aaron Thomas Payne

Court documents show the alleged crimes happened between July and October of 2014 when Payne was 18 years old and serving as the lead youth pastor at the church.

Henrico Police said they were made aware of the allegations on July 12, 2016 by the victim’s guardian.

Payne, who now lives in West Virginia, was arrested on October 17 and extradited to Virginia.

Payne currently serves as a youth pastor with Princeton First Assembly of God in Princeton, West Virginia. All the charges brought against him are from Henrico.

CBS 6 reached out to the Henrico church about the incident. They only said “We support the family,” in reference to the victim in the case.

The Appalachian Ministry Network which includes the Princeton First Assembly of God released a statement about Payne’s arrest to CBS 6 affiliate Fox59.

“When Mr. Payne became a minister and during the time he was working with teenagers in our network, there were no indications of endangerment to minors in his history.

Regardless of the outcome of the legal proceedings, Mr. Payne will undergo an ecclesiastical investigatory hearing regarding his ministerial credentials. Until that hearing is conducted, he is not permitted to perform any ministerial duties regardless of his incarceration status.”

The church said they are fully cooperating with law enforcement agencies on any such matters.

CBS 6 also reached out to Payne for a jailhouse interview, but he declined.

Payne’s next scheduled court appearance is Friday for a bond hearing.