Former Rockville church youth minister charged with sexual abuse of teen

ROCKVILLE — A Montgomery County District Court judge ordered a former Rockville, Maryland, church youth minister charged with sexually abusing a teen girl during an overnight “lock in” at the church last May held on $300,000 bond.

Montgomery County police arrested 32-year-old Brian Patrick Werth, of Montgomery Village, on Wednesday morning. Werth, who served as the youth minister of St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Rockville for more than seven years, has been charged with one count of fourth-degree sexual offense, one count of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of second-degree assault, police said.

In an unusual move, the judge Thursday ordered Werth’s bond increased from $150,000 after Assistant State’s Attorney Hannah Gelason said Werth “groomed” his 16-year-old victim by sending her graphic text message since she was 14.

Werth’s attorney David Wooton had argued unsuccessfully for a reduction of bond, saying Werth had no prior record.

A preliminary hearing is set for October.

Police were alerted by Child Protective Services in late August that Werth had allegedly had inappropriate contact with the teen during the overnight church event that he supervised, according to charging documents obtained by WTOP.

The girl, who told police she had known Werth since she was in middle school, said he met her in a private place on parish grounds during the May lock in that he supervised and inappropriately touched her without her consent, according to the documents.

Police said Werth had also been texting the girl since the summer of 2014 and had sent her messages that were “graphic and sexual in nature.”

The girl told police the messages made her feel uncomfortable and she thought they wrong, but she felt “compelled not to do anything,” per the charging documents, because Werth was nice to her and helpful in dealing with personal issues.

Montgomery County police said they believe there may be additional victims and are urging anyone with information to contact the Special Victims Investigations Division at 240-773-5400.

Two church leaders in Virginia were accused last month of inappropriate contact with teens.

Jordan Baird, 25 of Warrenton, has been accused of inappropriately touching two teen girls at the Life Church in Manassas, Virginia, and of sending inappropriate text messages. Baird was described by police as a “youth pastor,” but his father, the church’s pastor, said he did not oversee children and was a church employee.

The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office last month arrested 28-year-old Derrick Ryan Trump, the youth director at the Greenwich Presbyterian Church in Nokesville, Virgnia, who’s accused of inappropriately touching a 16-year-old girl.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report from Rockville.

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