A former Evangelical Christian pastor is being charged with assaulting an underage girl.
Robert Fenton, 35, formerly served as a youth pastor at Vine Church in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, during the 1990s.
During his time there, he allegedly convinced his church to allow him to marry a then-14 year-old girl.
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Fenton, who was 26 at the time, told the church he had to marry the child because "God wanted it."
Fenton allegedly was able to convince his church he and the victim had to be "betrothed" due to God's will and the age gap was the same between Mary and Joseph.
Court documents revealed Fenton's church allowed his marriage to the girl “with an understanding that no sexual activity would occur.”
However, according to the victim, whose identity has not been released, Fenton used this opportunity to sexually abuse her, reportedly forcing her to touch his genitals and perform oral sex on him.
The church insists they had no idea the relationship turned sexual.
The victim's parents, who horrifically supported the betrothal, did admit to authorities while the relationship began with a six-month "no contact" period in which the two only communicated through written letters, Fenton often "pushed the boundaries."
The "wedding" ultimately got called off after Fenton contracted pancreatitis. He allegedly blamed the victim for his illness and told her she "ruined his ministry" before leaving the church.
Fenton has since left his position and moved to a new church in Australia. He may be extradited to the US to face trial.
Twitter users are horrified over the news.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro assured the public Fenton would face criminal charges.
“The defendant used his power and authority in his religious community to lie, manipulate and regularly abuse a young girl in his community."
“I promised we would hold anyone who was abusing children accountable–and Robert Fenton is no exception.”