20 June 2023 |
A Green Bay pastor, Cory J. Herthel, has been arrested and charged with multiple online crimes allegedly aimed at a child in Venezuela, according to an article by WeAreGreenBay.com. The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and include attempted production of child pornography and transfer of obscene material to a minor. The complaint alleges that the 40-year-old pastor had first encountered the child during his missionary work in Venezuela, subsequently maintaining contact through online channels.
Herthel is alleged to have solicited inappropriate videos from the minor in exchange for monetary payments, further incriminating himself by reportedly sending the child explicit images of himself. The sustained contact and transaction of obscene materials form the basis of the charges, exposing the child to grave psychological and emotional harm.
The Wisconsin Conference released an official statement about the situation, stating the following:
The Wisconsin Conference of Seventh-day Adventists recently learned of alleged illegal actions by Cory Herthel, a pastor in the Conference’s employment. Per longstanding policy, the Conference immediately informed the appropriate authorities about the allegations.
Even in advance of a legal conclusion to this case, the Wisconsin Conference determined that the behavior in question was a serious violation of the values and standards of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Therefore the pastor’s employment has been terminated. Additionally, his ministerial credentials and ordination will be revoked, preventing future employment within the Seventh-day Adventist church.
The Wisconsin Conference is deeply saddened by this abhorrent situation and is praying both for the victim and any others affected by the pastor’s actions. Their hope is that their prompt actions, upon first learning of the serious allegations, may have prevented further harm.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a mainstream Protestant denomination with approximately 20 million members worldwide. The denomination seeks to help all people know the love of God and that Jesus is coming again soon. Sadly, the actions of this pastor did not show God’s love, and for that the Wisconsin Conference is heartbroken.
Investigation into this case is being jointly conducted by the FBI offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee, working in collaboration with the Green Bay police department. These combined efforts aim to thoroughly assess the extent of Herthel’s actions and secure all necessary evidence to strengthen the prosecution’s case.
If convicted, Herthel faces significant legal consequences. The charge of attempted production of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, extendable up to 30 years in federal prison. The charge related to the transfer of obscene materials could add another ten years to his prison sentence. In addition to the potential jail time, a conviction on either charge would necessitate that Herthel register as a sex offender, marking him permanently in the public record.