Pastor Brian A. Neiswender Arrested for Alleged Molestation

This article courtesy of the The Citizens Voice. Originally I had posted a different news story, but this one has additional information so I am replacing it for the original post.


By Bob Kalinowski

Pastor Brian A. Neiswender repeatedly fondled the girls while playing hide and seek in the dark and teaching one-on-one music lessons, according to arrest papers.

The 26-year-old Baptist minister surrendered to authorities Wednesday to face charges of indecent assault and corruption of minors in connection with the alleged sex crimes at Christ Community Church, 100 W. Dorrance St.

The two girls, now 17 and 18 years old, came forward in February. They said the abuse dates back to August 2003 and lasted for years.

Church leaders were advised of Neiswender’s alleged improper conduct at least two times, according to arrest papers filed with Magisterial District Judge Paul Roberts in Kingston.

The first time, a rule was briefly implemented that his lessons would no longer be one-on-one, the girls said. The second time, Neiswender apologized and “church members said they would take care of the situation,” but it’s unclear if any action was taken. A phone call placed to the church was not returned Wednesday.

Kingston police Capt. John Jorda said there is another local victim whom police are trying to locate and there might be one more.

Neiswender currently is the pastor of student ministries at Heritage Baptist Church in Lakeland, Fla. Local authorities have advised Florida investigators about Neiswender’s arrest and they are “looking into matters” there, Jorda said.

Neiswender’s profile on the Web site for his Florida church portrays a loving husband and father dedicated to helping young people connect with God.

His profile says he is a graduate of Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit and mentions he served at the church in Kingston. Four pictures on the site are of him with his wife and young daughter.

One of the alleged victims said she didn’t want to come forward at the time because she didn’t want to get Neiswender in trouble. The most recent contact documented in arrest papers is when Neiswender sent two “unusual” picture messages to one of the girls in June 2007, police said.

Just days after the victims came forward, police say they wiretapped a phone call between Neiswender and one of the girls. He “apologized several times for what (he) had done” to her, according to arrest papers.

Neiswender has been cooperating since contacted by police, Jorda said.

His attorney, Jair Novajosky, noted Wednesday his client came to Luzerne County to answer to the charges within 48 hours of being notified about them. He assured his client would show up for future court dates.

Neiswender was released on $50,000 unsecured bail, meaning he didn’t have to post any money but would be responsible for that amount if he failed to show up for court.

Representatives from his Florida church did not return phone calls or e-mails Wednesday.


1,218 Responses

  1. James1:19 So then, my beloved brethrern, let every man be swift to hear,slow to speak,slow to wrath: for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of GOD.
    1st Corinthians 13:4-7 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy: love does not parade itself ,is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own,is not provoked,thinks no evil;does not rejoice in iniquity,but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things Love Never Fails.
    The Lord bless you and keep you, The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you and give you peace.

  2. My friend got murdered by her husband and the whole town is support this. He is a christian. It has been proven. Christians are cofering it up. Here is the one I want to leave about this truth. when a girl and boy anounces the have never kissed. And then the Lord shows you they have not. Then it gets confirmed that they did everything but that so they can tell everyone they never kissed to be truthful. This is wrong. They can’t teach about waiting for they don’t know how. And it is lie to all the girls. I was saved from the world but I don’t know if I want it anymore because of all the lies around me from ministers to leaders in youth groups. It is okay, I mean, to tell the truth for God can trun beauty in ashes it is thier testimony which is testimony to God to what he could when we make choices and that is a ministry in of itself. It does not condone it but God redeems. And so many need to know this as well as the consequences. But they can’t teach to wait for it will be false and not true. They don’t know what to do with the temptations. They will be giving false advice. Does the truth set you free for I do not see it.

    • You raise an interesting question, indeed. Does the truth set you free? Because we don’t see it happening. Actually the Word says you will know the truth and the truth will make you free. If you don’t know the truth it won’t make you free. And what is being taught in the name of truth isn’t truth. The Word also says, santify them in the truth, My Word is truth. The truth is in the Word – and not taken out of it in bits and pieces or created wholesale outside the Word. Only the truth of the Word can make anyone free. And yes, it does. But the rest of that stuff which proports to be the truth is not truth and not only will it not make anyone free, it will contribute instead to greater bondage.

      – Danni

  3. James 1:21-25
    Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted WORD ,which is able to save your souls.
    But be ye doers of the WORD and not hearers only deceiving yourselves,For if any man is a hearer of the WORD and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes his way and immediately forgets what kind of person he was .JESUS is GODS WORD in the flesh

  4. Romans 12:1&2
    I beg you therefore brethren by the mercies of GOD that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto GOD ,which is your reasonable service.
    And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you might prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of GOD.

  5. I too watched an ugly seen unfold the day CCC split, as I sat in silence I was mortified by the behavior of adults, and worse Christians. However, we must realize that we are all born of a sinful nature and we are all sinners. Not one of us is perfect, or even worthy of God’s love and grace, but by His mercy we are saved. John S’ post is a wise and beautiful post about forgiveness. That’s probably the best way to start moving on if you haven’t already. Be forgiving, and ask those you have harmed (directly and indirectly) for their forgiveness. God wants you to do the right thing. If they don’t want to forgive or they don’t want your forgiveness then pray for them, and have piece in knowing that you did what God has asked of you. Remember that God knows everything, see everything, and takes care of everything. He wants you to work for Him and not for a specific church or person so he wants you to move on so that you can serve him fully. If you’re still not sure how, then talk with Him, and be persistent until you get an answer. God isn’t instant gratification like the internet so it might take awhile.

    I realize that at CCC there were young, old, immature, and mature Christians who attended, as well as some who were not saved. Many of these people were impressionable children and young adults. Certainly many non-Christians were affected in and around the communities where this news really hit home, and I’m sure it affected some around the world. These posts themselves are readily available to anyone with internet access. I also understand the need to let things out, but we also are called to walk the walk and there is a right and wrong way to say and do things. We need to make sure we’re following his guidelines. Otherwise people get hurt and turned off. I fear many already have.

    If you’re not familiar with Luke 17:1-6 then you should read it. I’ve heard many sermons on these versus but 1 & 2 are particular noteworthy and sometimes overlooked. I’m not claiming to be perfect, but I know what it’s like to feel this burden. I’m pleading that those who have written or said hurtful things, be careful and to move on. I pray that everyone involved can find piece, and grow as a Christian.

    I believe this blog has run it’s course, and feel in the best interest of moving forward that the past posts simply become the past. What was said has been said and now it is time to move on…

  6. One question has been left naggingly hanging on this thread. I have been pondering and praying and think, perhaps, I have some suggestions.

    The lingering question is, what should be done if there are people who genuinely believe there are serious and egregious spiritual errors being perpetrated at CCC by the leadership there? Do we just go on under the banner of “forgive and forget” and plaster happy faces on unresolved issues?

    Does the Word say we are to forgive and move on in the face of what we believe to be errors of Biblical truth which could endanger the spiritual and/or physical wellbeing of others? The answer to this question is a resounding “NO.”

    If there are any issues of illegal activity (and I personally have heard of none, so I am not implying there has been any such suggestion), those issues must be taken to the civil authorities. I Peter 2:11-16 says:

    Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

    Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

    Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;

    Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

    For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

    As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

    Leaders and members of the church are not exempt from this direction. The Word instructs us to address issues internally, but it does not say we are to avoid going to civil authorities when the ordinances of man have been violated. We should do both, not one, the other, or neither. This was one of the contentions from the first when the pastor of CCC did not take allegations by the girls in this case directly and immediately to the authorities, regardless of his personal opinion of their validity. This is why that question mattered – and the fallout of this case was dramatically more severe because of failure to obey the Word on this point.

    However, what about other issues, which are not of a nature that violates the ordinances of man – in other words, if they are not things which are actually illegal?

    We as believers also have a very specifically stated responsibility to rebuke those in leadership the church who do not obey the Word. Titus 1:6-16 says:

    If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

    For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

    But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

    Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

    For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers [this applies to church leaders as well as to church members]…

    Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

    One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

    This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

    Not giving heed to Jewish fables [this applies equally to religious traditions and accepted religious practices of Christianity], and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

    Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

    They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

    This whole context cannot be parsed down to “dangerous theology” – there is quite a list of things here for which a church leader is to be held accountable and sharply rebuked if they are being practiced. This includes rebuking a church leader who is not self-controlled, angry when crossed, mishandles finances, given to physical displays of temper, involved in any type of addicted behavior (including socially acceptable ones), etc.

    Sharply rebuking a church leader who is in error is both correct and necessary. We are not supposed to just move on; forgive and forget. To do so would be in violation of the clear instruction of the Word.

    But what do we do if every realistic attempt has been made to do this, following the Matthew 18 model as closely as possible, to no effect? Then, I believe, the question comes down to one of authority. If a church member is in violation of the Word, including a teacher, deacon, elder, or whomever, the governing body of the church which is responsible for the oversight of that person’s duties has the authority to remove them from service, or even from the church if there is no repentance.

    What if that person is the pastor of a church? The issue of authority then depends on the constitution of the church. If there is a board or governing body of elders who have the power of hiring and firing the pastor, they have both the freedom and the Biblical responsibility to do so, because they are in authority. If they have the power to hire and fire, they are in authority – regardless of what the pastor may say about who is in authority.

    However, if the pastor serves at will and cannot be terminated, or is able to manipulate a governing board into supporting him and not standing unswervingly for righteousness, there is little anyone can do to force him to change. The only thing left to do is leave, knowing God’s blessing is not on that place regardless of what membership numbers and smiling faces right now may seem to indicate.

    God is not mocked. Eventually, it will all fall apart. Unfortunately, that “eventually” can take a lifetime. As long as we live in a fallen world, there will be wolves among the sheep. As long as the sheep will keep following a wolf, the wolf will have a following. Sounds pretty simplistic, but it is true. Wolves don’t get into the sheepfold by being stupid. They get there by looking just like wonderful sheep.

    So, how does this impact the situation that has been addressed on this thread? From what I have been able to discern, attempts have been made to address concerns at CCC following the Matthew 18 model as closely as possible. If, at that point, whatever governing body refuses to take further action, those who have serious breaches with the leadership are correct to remove themselves.

    But what about those who are left behind who may be unaware of potential danger? Again, I truly think this answer varies depending on the situation. If there were danger of legal violations, a factual and documented record should be made – and kept privately, but available should it ever be needed. Making a public record of unsupported or “opinion” charges could be grounds for a lawsuit for slander/libel. Where an offense is a private, personal matter it may be something that never needs to be aired at all.

    In between those two extremes falls probably the bulk of situations like this in church. If there really are serious spiritual issues with the leadership of a church, others will be coming along later with the same concerns or questions about them because of what they are seeing themselves. To deliberately hide from these people information they need for their own decisions regarding their spiritual wellbeing would be aiding in the offense they experience. Satan would win another point.

    For that reason, I think it would be the best part of wisdom for those who know factual information to determine who knows what, and establish a publically available contact point. Just that – a contact point. This way if someone later needs to know, there will be a way to find out. But in the meanwhile, information which could be needlessly hurtful to innocent bystanders and the general internet public is not displayed for the world to see.

    As a result of coming to this conclusion, what I would recommend in this specific situation would be for the parties involved to establish a generic e-mail account (not in the name of an individual) which would be monitored by a designated person who knows all of the people who have information. This person would handle or forward any incoming requests for specific information – which would probably best be disseminated in person and not in writing, unless there is concrete documentation. I would be willing to have that contact e-mail posted here (this is another reason this e-mail address should not be personal).

    We are not to receive an accusation against an elder except with two or three witnesses (I Timothy 5:19). By implication, an accusation with two or three witnesses should very seriously be considered to be of merit. So if there are two or three witnesses (which there are in this case from what I have been able to ascertain), their testimony should also probably be delivered to any questioning party in the company of those witnesses. This should help protect all parties from the hazards and misunderstandings of “he said/she said.” And everything should be documented – every instance of testimony given, to whom it was given, by whom, who witnessed it, and when.

    One other thing that is very important to consider in an issue such as this is the distinction between judging righteously and judging in the flesh. Jesus Himself does not look at our sin. He paid the full price for all sin for all time – past, present, and future. Even when the person who commits a grievance remains unrepentant, that sin has been paid for in full. That person will give an account to God at the end of time – but they will not be punished for sin Jesus paid for in full and God no longer even sees. If they are not true believers, they will be judged and damned for rejecting the truth of Jesus’ sacrifice. If they are believers who have wasted their life on wood, hay, and stubble they will have the grief of that fact to endure and will sacrifice the honors and rewards God promises for obedience to Him.

    [Added later: There are also always consequences for our actions. This is not because God is angry or punishing us. It is the law of sowing and reaping. Sometimes the delay between sowing and reaping can appear to be a lifetime long. We’re not in control of the time table. But, again, God isn’t mocked. This is a law of nature and of God – both a physical and a spiritual law. We will reap what we sow. So when we are offended or wrongs have been done without apparent justice, we can leave that, knowing that eventually what has been done will be revealed – or even if the entire world never knows, consequences will occur.]

    However, what we are to judge is the truth about God being compromised, either in church policy/practice or in the life of individuals in the church, especially church leaders. Our focus must remain on this point. This is the only way we can truly forgive those who offend us, while still standing up for righteousness and justice. This is why Jesus and Stephen could both say, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

    The Word says when unrighteousness is allowed to continue unbridled in the church, it spreads and others will either be offended (have their relationship with God detrimentally affected) or join in this or other sin, thereby driving hinderances in their own relationship with God and depriving them of the blessing God intends for them through that relationship.

    Because of this problem, I Timothy 5:20 goes on to say, “Them [elders] that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” This is why Jesus said such harsh things to the scribes and Pharisees – while having not one single word of condemnation for the very “worst” sinners. What we commonly see practiced in the church is the opposite. We dish out hell-fire and damnation to “sinners” while failing to confront false teaching and examples of ungodliness in the lives of our very own “scribes and Pharisees” – behavior which causes others to stumble. This is in direct violation to the teaching of the Word and Jesus’ own example. And this is why situations of sin in church leadership must be addressed and not merely swept away tidily behind the façade of “forgiveness” and happy smiles.

    — Danni

  7. Matthew 7:19-24 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to me LORD,LORD;shall enter the kingdom of heaven,but those who do the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, LORD, LORD, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name,and done wonders in Your name? and then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to be a wise man.

  8. 2 Timothy 3
    Godlessness in the Last Days
    1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

  9. Rom. 8:1,5,6,8 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh. but those who live according to the Spirit , the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is DEATH, but to be Spiritually minded is LIFE and PEACE, because the carnal mind is enmity against GOD. So then ,those who are in the flesh cannot please GOD.
    Mark 1:15 The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of GOD is at hand . REPENT and believe the gospel.

  10. REV.20:11 – 15 Then I saw a great white throne and HIM who sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great , standing before GOD, and the books were opened. And another book was opened , which is the Book of life And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things written in the books The sea gave up its dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered the dead who were in them. And they were judged , each one according to their works. Then Death and Hates were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the BOOK OF LIFE was cast into the lake of fire. So where will you spend Eternity ? and what do you suppose are written in those Books?

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