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Strafford minister charged with inappropriate sexual behavior with minor

Published: Oct. 9, 2020 at 7:46 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 9, 2020 at 8:05 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A former student minister at First Baptist Church in Strafford has been charged with seven felony counts of inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor.

Jeff Taylor, 46, a now-fired student minister at the First Baptist Church in Strafford, faces seven felony counts ranging from statutory sodomy to rape after being accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor since she was 11 years old.

KY3 has a policy of not being specific in identifying a child’s relation to his/her accuser in these types of cases although the relation is mentioned in the probable cause statement.

“Mr. Taylor is innocent until proven guilty but it does highlight that abusers can even be our most trusted members of the community,” Greene County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Chapman said of the case.

Two of the felony counts are first degree statutory sodomy relating to events that occurred when the girl was under 12 years-old. Count three is first degree statutory sodomy when she was under 14 years-old. Counts Four and Five are second degree sodomy under the age of 17. Counts six and seven are second-degree statutory rape under age 17.

According to the probable cause statement law enforcement was made aware of the circumstances on Tuesday when a woman at a Strafford business told them that one of her employees who is now 19 years old told her of a sexual relationship relationship with Taylor, deciding to go public after hearing Taylor was involved with an adult woman at the church.

“It’s a delayed disclosure which is common in these types of cases,” Chapman explained. “There are many different reasons (for not coming forward) but one of the important things we as parents can all do better is that we all teach our children about what to do when a stranger does something they’re not supposed to but it isn’t often enforced that it applies across the board to even a stepfather or parent.”

In this case, the probable cause statement says the sexual relationship went on for years and became more intimate when the girl became a teenager.

If convicted, Taylor could face up to life in prison. He is in jail without bond and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment.

But the probable cause statement said he admitted to the relationship.

Quoting from the PC statement:

When speaking about his actions, Jeffrey stated, “It was based in love.” Jeffrey also stated, “I knew what I had done.” and “To me, it was the way that I could love her.” Jeffrey stated, “Whatever picture of love she has now, I put it there. It’s my fault.”

Obviously the allegations are stunning news in a small town like Strafford and the First Baptist Church released this written statement:

"After our church leadership learned over the weekend about Mr. Taylor’s horrific actions... he was immediately terminated from his position as Student Minister at First Baptist Church and referrals were made to the child abuse hotline and law enforcement agencies. We are cooperating fully with their investigation.

There have been no reports of inappropriate acts committed toward any other youth or children at the church or during church activities.

Chapman confirmed that the investigation has not found any other children were involved but asked the public for input.

“If anyone does have any information they can contact Crimestoppers or the Greene County Sheriff’s Office," he said.

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