Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Former youth group leader pleads guilty to sexual battery

LAKEPORT – On Friday a local church's former youth group leader pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery.

Christopher Andrew Puryear, 23, of Kelseyville, accepted a plea bargain in which he pleaded guilty to felony sexual battery on a 14-year-old girl, according to his defense attorney, Stephen Carter.

That puts Puryear on a fast track to sentencing, which Carter said is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, March 5.

In exchange for the guilty plea, Deputy District Attorney Ed Borg dropped felony charges of oral copulation and threatening a witness, and a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, Carter said.

Puryear previously was a youth group leader for Gateway Ministries in Finley, formerly Big Valley Community Church, as Lake County News has reported.

Last November, Lake County Sheriff's deputies responded to a report that Puryear was having “inappropriate relations” with one of the teenage girls in the youth group, according to a sheriff's office report.

On Nov. 25, Puryear allegedly asked a 14-year-old girl to go outside with him to talk during a church function, at which point he allegedly made physical and sexual advances towards her. Officials alleged that Puryear only stopped when he was interrupted by someone else exiting the church.

Puryear's attorney said the young man can expect to receive a five-year sentence, and will probably serve about half of that time due to credits including time served. He's remained in the Lake County Jail since his Dec. 19 arrest, with bail set at $250,000.

Without the plea deal, Puryear was facing eight years in prison, Carter said. The sexual battery charge is not a strike but it will require Puryear to register as a sex offender.

“Mr. Borg and I worked hard to work on a resolution that was acceptable to both sides,” said Carter, adding that he thought Borg “took a very good approach in the case.”

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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