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Man arrested on suspicion of sexual abuse of a child was family’s pastor, prosecution says

Crime Watch

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Bret Welty

BOISE (Idaho Stateman) — A Boise man who was arrested Friday on a felony charge of sexual abuse of a child was the pastor for the victim and her family, according to prosecutors.

Bret Welty, 48, was booked into the Ada County Jail following an investigation into an incident of alleged sexual abuse with a 15-year-old that took place on Aug. 9 at 1 a.m. The victim was known to Welty, Boise police said in a press release. He was also charged with a felony count of lewd conduct.

At a video arraignment hearing Monday, defense attorneys said that Welty had previously worked at Calvary Chapel and the Common Ground Bikers Church, and that Welty and his wife were both involved in the ministry.

A website for Hard Rock Revival Church lists Welty and his wife, Kelly, as its pastors. The church is run out of their home on Colonial Drive in Boise, the website says.

According to the prosecution, the victim was staying with Welty’s family for the weekend, as the “family believed that spending time at the pastor’s home would be helpful to her” because of present anxieties. The victim said that Welty entered her bedroom, had her undress and gave her a massage, touching her chest and genitals, according to prosecutors. The incident lasted between 30 minutes and an hour and stopped when Welty’s wife interrupted, they said.

Welty confessed to having “struggled with such behaviors before” but never with someone as young as the victim, according to court documents.

The defense said that Welty is “no longer in ministry” or actively involved in a church, and works in real estate.

Welty’s bond was set at $250,000 and a no-contact order was issued on behalf of the victim and her father. Magistrate Judge Michael Lojek also said that if Welty posts bond, no other people beside Welty’s wife, son and stepdaughter are allowed to move into the family’s residence.