Church Addresses Child Pornography Charges Against Former Pastor

Created: 03/27/2014 7:37 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- A former assistant pastor in Rochester is now behind bars for child pornography. Matthew Luetke, age 35, is charged with promoting child pornography after Missouri officials discovered provocative images of girls between the ages of 9 to 13 on his computer. He was the Associate Pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church in Rochester from 2006 to 2013 and was the principle of the preschool there.

"It's a horrible thing," said current Pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church, Brian Kom. He says the news came as a complete shock. "Matthew Luetke's wife Charity called me with the news," he said.

Luetke worked with Pastor Kom for eight years and was the principal of "Precious is the Child Preschool." He's now in jail for child pornography, specifically of young girls. He was a very good pastor, worked with our young people, the high school age, taught catechism class, very well-liked here so it was just a total shock," said Pastor Kom.

Court documents say Luetke admitted to being inappropriately touched by his young relatives and had "developed a problem with viewing child pornography" since 2004. He started at Ascension Lutheran in 2006. "If anything happened we want that to be reported to the police right away," said Pastor Kom. The biggest fear is that something did and that's why Pastor Kom sent out a letter to parents. "We notified everybody that we can with letters and announcements in church," said Pastor Kom.

The letter says there's no evidence of abuse by Luetke at Ascension Lutheran and that he had little to no alone time with the kids. "We're really trying to emphasize that we don’t think anything happened here, but we don’t want to sweep anything under the rug," said Pastor Kom.

  He still hopes parents will have a conversation with their kids to be absolutely sure. He says, he's doing the same. "I have four children of my own, three of them were in youth activities and things like that with Matthew, and so I’ve had to have those discussions with my children too," said  Pastor Kom.

While he's trying to put out the fire, Pastor Kom says members of the church have a right to be concerned. "I'm deeply discussed and upset that something like this can happen," said Pastor Kom

They also had children leave service so that this could be discussed at the church. Letters were given to every family that's had children at the preschool within the past 8 years. The Rochester Police Department has been notified and have joined in on the on-going investigation.

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