A youth minister at Fifth Street Baptist Church in Levelland is in federal custody for attempted enticement of a minor.
Trevor Jacob Fortner, 25, was arrested on Wednesday and appeared before a federal judge on Friday.
Fortner also worked in the publications and graphics department at the First Baptist Church in Lubbock.
According to court documents, a detective with the Lubbock Police Department was working undercover online as a 15-year old female named "Katy".
On Tuesday, Fortner encountered "Katy" online and began sending her text messages, including sexually explicit images. Fortner asked "Katy" to send him explicit pictures of herself as well.
The affidavit states Fortner and "Katy" spoke about meeting up and he told her he wanted to have sex with her.
According to the affidavit, Fortner told "Katy," "If we were to do something you wouldn't try to get me into trouble for anything would you? I could be labeled as a sex offender and put in jail and what not. I just want to make sure."
The document says investigators were able to verify Fortner's identity through his Texas driver's license image and Facebook postings. Fortner's telephone number was also verified as being used by Fortner.
On Wednesday, a Special Agent with the FBI interviewed Fortner at the First Baptist Church. Fortner admitted he had met "Katy" the previous day, via the Internet, and had been communicating with her through emails and text messages.
Fortner said that he understood "Katy" was a 15-year-old Hispanic girl.
That day Fortner was arrested by the FBI and LPD. If found guilty, he could face life in prison.
Bobby C. Dagnel, Senior Pastor with First Baptist Church in Lubbock, released this statement on Friday:
Trevor Fortner was a clerical employee of our church, working as a publications specialist within our media department. He was neither a minister nor a member of First Baptist Church, and never had any contact or involvement with our student ministries.
On Wednesday afternoon Mr. Fortner's immediate supervisor was informed by authorities that Mr. Fortner was being taken into custody. While shock and dismay was the initial reaction of the news, our thoughts and prayers quickly turned to his family and any families involved.
At a time like this, the question of employee background checks inevitably arises. First Baptist Church conducts criminal background checks on all employees - ministerial, professional, and clerical, and also all volunteers working with minors.
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