A trusted youth pastor and coach is charged with sexually abusing a child in his care. Jonathan David Masteller, 23, of Paradise Township, Lancaster County, is in the Lancaster County Prison on $250,000 bail. State troopers arrested Masteller Tuesday morning.
Masteller’s former employers at the Gap Community Church are distraught. He’s accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy on at least six different occasions at his home at 50 North Kinzer Road.
The victim is a child Masteller met through the church.
“It’s very disturbing to see any child victimized, especially in this situation where the child had gained trust in an adult and his trust was taken advantage of and he was abused,” said Trooper Philip Strosser of the Pennsylvania State Police.
Gap Community Church released a statement which reads:
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the charges filed against Jonathan Masteller. Mr. Masteller is no longer employed nor has any official responsibilities at Gap Community Church. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by Mr. Masteller’s actions. As this is an on-going criminal matter, the Church will not be making any further comments.”
A church employee contacted police Friday after finding explicit images on a work computer used by Masteller. The images allegedly show Masteller and the teen engaged in sex acts.
“I’m sure it’s very disturbing to him, especially that he had known, Jonathan Masteller and the 13-year-old,” Trooper Strosser said.
Masteller left his job at the church after he was hired by the Pequea Valley School District about two weeks ago. He served as the boys’ head basketball coach at the junior high, a classroom assistant and a substitute teacher.
Pequea Valley Superintendent Dr. Erik Orndorff sent this statement to FOX43 News:
“The School District intends to fully cooperate with the PA State Police in their investigation of this matter, if requested to do so. In the event that Mr. Masteller posts bail and is released from prison, the School District will not allow Mr. Masteller on school grounds while this criminal matter i proceeds and he has been suspended from all duties effective immediately. The School District is not aware of any allegations of inappropriate conduct by Mr. Masteller that purportedly occurred on school grounds or during any school-sponsored activities.”
A forensics team is searching other computers and cell phone Masteller used to ensure that there are no other victims. At this time, Strosser said there’s no indication of other victims.
“It’s actually a relief that they did discover this rather quickly and reported it so that this trend didn’t continue,” he said.