ROCKVILLE, MD (WUSA9) - A youth minister was arrested on Wednesday following allegations of sexual abuse of a teenage parishioner at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, police said.
The youth minister has been identified as Brian Patrick Werth, 32, of Montgomery Village.
In late August, detectives were notified by Child Protective Services that Werth had inappropriate sexual contact with a 16-year-old female parishioner on or around May 20 while at a youth event at the church.
Investigators interviewed the victim, her parents and gathered evidence. They learned Werth had been texting the victim since the summer of 2014. Texts sent were graphic and sexual in nature, police said.
He was charged with one count of fourth-degree sexual offense, one count of sexual abuse of a minor and second-degree assault.
The Archdiocese of Washington said it immediately suspended Werth from his duties at the parish and the school. His employment has since been terminated.
The archdiocese released the following statement regarding the arrest:
The Archdiocese of Washington takes seriously its responsibility to the children entrusted to its care. The Child Protection Policy of the Archdiocese of Washington mandates criminal background checks, applications and education for all employees and volunteers who work with young people. Mr. Werth had cleared the background check and accompanying requirements. The policy also mandates immediate reporting of suspected abuse to the authorities and an employee’s/volunteer’s immediate removal from work or ministry following a credible allegation. This requirement was also met in Mr. Werth’s case.
Investigators believe there may be additional victims who have not come forward.
Detectives are urging anyone with information regarding inappropriate contact involving Brian Patrick Werth to contact the Special Victims Investigations Division at 240.773.5400.