Prosecutors have filed felony charges against a former First-Plymouth Church youth leader whom Lincoln police accuse of making an inappropriate advance on a 12-year-old boy at the church, according to court documents.
A Lancaster County judge Friday issued an arrest warrant for Taylor T. Martin, 22, on charges of attempted sexual assault and child abuse.
The allegation came to light in February, when the boy told a therapist Martin had approached him in a church bathroom during a Wednesday night youth group session, a police investigator said in an affidavit for Martin's arrest.
The boy said he had just left the gym, where he had been playing basketball, and gone into the bathroom when Martin entered, grabbed him by the sides, kissed him and asked to perform a sex act on the boy.
The boy said no, then left the bathroom, according to police.
Investigators believe the encounter occurred in 2017, according to the affidavit.
Martin, who now lives in Washington, D.C., didn't immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.
The Rev. Jim Keck, First-Plymouth's senior minister, said the church has been cooperating with police since staff learned of the encounter.
Martin left the church voluntarily after serving for a couple of years as a youth group leader, a contract position compensated by a monthly stipend, Keck said.
Martin, like others at the church who work with children, passed a background check and completed "boundary training," Keck said.
Early in the investigation, church officials held special sessions with youth and families encouraging them to tell someone if someone makes them feel uncomfortable, he said.
The encounter described by the boy is the only such incident church officials know about, Keck said, but church leaders overseeing the children and youth department will hold new sessions to provide more information since the case became public.
Keck is thankful the boy said no and was able to get to safety, he said.
“Obviously, we’re heartbroken about this and have been ministering to the family from the moment we first heard," Keck said.
If convicted, Martin would face up to 23 years in prison.