By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com September 12 2013 11:13 AM ET
A youth pastor from Council Bluffs, Iowa, was charged last year on 60 counts of suspected sexual exploitation of a minor by a counselor or therapist after at least eight young men filed complaints that the pastor molested them. The victims allege the pastor had sex with them while praying to help them gain "sexual purity in the eyes of God," according to an affidavit obtained by Omaha's KETV.
Brent Giroeux, 31, told police in February he had sex with four young men starting in 2007 because it was his duty to "help [them] with homosexual urges by praying while he had sexual contact with [them]," reports UPI. But since that confession, at least four other men have come forward with complaints.
Giroeux pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual abuse and was initially sentenced by a judge to 17 years in prison. But the judge suspended the sentence to allow Giroeux to receive sex offender treatment, followed by five years' probation. Giroeux will also register for life as a sex offender.
Giroeux was an unpaid youth volunteer at Victory Fellowship Church from 2006 until several of his alleged victims went to Victory's pastor to report the abuse. The pastor urged Giroeux to turn himself in to police, which he did in February 2011, confessing to having long-term sexual relations with several teenage boys, including at least one that began when the boy was 14, and lasted for four years. Giroeux confessed to engaging in sexual activity with the minor 25-50 times over that four-year period, but the alleged victim said the assaults occurred more than 100 times throughout those years. Investigators say at least eight victims have come forward, though they expect others were assaulted by the former youth pastor, as well.
Giroeux is a married father of four, including two foster children. His wife is currently filing for divorce, and she issued statements urging anyone else victimized by her husband to come forward.
Watch KETV's report below.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Giroeux was arrested earlier this year. He was, in fact, arrested in 2011, and charged in 2012. The Advocate regrets this error.