ROLLA, Mo. – A Greene County church has cut ties with its student pastor after he was accused of molesting two children in Phelps and Crawford counties several years ago.
Spenser A. Farr, 24, has been charged with five counts of statutory sodomy in connection with incidents in 2012 and 2013.
Court documents say the sexual abuse took place at two public pools: The Centre in Rolla and the Steelville City Pool in Steelville.
In the summer of 2012, Farr was showering with a boy after Farr, the boy and the boy's sister had all gone swimming together at The Centre, documents say. During the shower, Farr allegedly touched the boy's genitals and continued to molest him after the boy told Farr to stop.
According to documents, the boy was either 12 or 13 at the time.
Farr repeatedly sexually abused a different boy at the Steelville City Pool in the summers of 2012 and 2013, court documents say, while Farr worked at the pool as a swimming instructor and lifeguard.
Farr allegedly molested the boy in the pool despite the boy telling Farr to stop.
According to court documents, the boy said Farr molested him about eight times in 2012 and more than 20 times in 2013.
The boy and his father reported the abuse to a manager at the Steelville City Pool in 2013, court documents say, at which point Farr was fired.
When a detective spoke with the manager in 2017, the manager confirmed that Farr had been fired for touching a child's genitals, court documents say.
It's unclear if the manager told authorities about the alleged sexual abuse before police approached her in 2017.
The News-Leader has reached out to the city of Steelville for comment.
Phelps County Prosecutor Brendon Fox filed the charges against Farr. Fox said he is unsure whether the pool manager was considered a mandated reporter. A mandated reporter is someone required by law to report suspected child abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Fox said it was his understanding that the investigation into Farr began after a delayed report of abuse by the victims and their families.
Farr apparently moved on from being a lifeguard to become a youth pastor in Greene County.
Hamlin Baptist Church — which is located just northwest of Springfield city limits — said in a statement that Farr is no longer a student pastor at the church.
"The church personnel team has released Spenser Farr from the position of student pastor at Hamlin Baptist Church and we have no other announcement or information at this time."
It does not appear from court documents that the accusations against Farr are in any way related to his time as a youth pastor at Hamlin Baptist.
Court records show that Farr's criminal charges are split between Crawford and Phelps counties and that he has not been arrested as of Tuesday morning.
Once arrested, Farr will be held on bonds on $500,000 and $100,000, court records say.
Farr did not have an attorney listed in online court records.