Canada
Youth pastor pleads guilty to sexual exploitation

Ottawa youth pastor Mark Raymer.

Credits: Facebook photo

MEGAN GILLIS | QMI AGENCY

OTTAWA - A teen girl says the youth pastor who sexted her pictures of his genitals and took her to hotels for trysts "stole my heart, my mind and my body," leaving her unable to look in the mirror without crying.

The girl's "mature" victim impact statement was introduced Monday at the sentencing hearing of Mark Raymer, 29, who pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of the 16-year-old.

His lawyer is seeking a sentence of 90 days to be served on weekends, or, if the judge rejects an intermittent sentence, three- to six-months straight time. Norm Boxall argued that whatever sentence imposed on the married father-of-two, he will be forever punished with a "tattered" reputation and struggle to get a job with a record.

The former youth pastor at the Peace Tower Church is remorseful and describes himself as having "sinned," Boxall said.

According to an agreed statement of facts, the relationship began with cuddling and kissing when Raymer picked her up after school, and later petting and sex in a hotel room, his car and the church basement.

At first, the girl wrote, she blamed herself and felt disgust and shame. She now realizes she was still a child and it wasn't her fault.

"My heart still grows cold at the thought of you but my life is on the road to forgiveness," she wrote, adding she hopes Raymer will accept the consequences and heal.

The Crown will make submissions Thursday.

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