Plea deal could keep 3 pastors’ records clean
FORT COLLINS – Three Loveland pastors have pleaded guilty to failing to report sexual abuse by a church member in plea agreements that could keep their records clean.James Rice, Thad Gunderson and Eric Mowen received one-year deferred sentences after pleading guilty in Larimer County Court on Nov. 15 to a misdemeanor charge of failure to report abuse. The convictions will be removed from their records in a year if they stay out of trouble.Fort Collins police had accused Paul John Lavertu of fondling five children during functions of Gateway Baptist Church of Loveland. Police said the pastors knew of the abuse but didn’t report it to authorities.Rice, the head pastor, said the pastors were asked to counsel Lavertu a year earlier but did not know what he had done until 2007. When they found out, they told him to turn himself in to police, which he did.Lavertu pleaded guilty in October to attempted sexual assault on a child and unlawful sexual contact. He was sentenced to 35 days in jail and 15 years of probation with sex offender treatment.
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