Former Hermitage church youth pastor sentenced for sex crimes against minors
A former youth pastor at Hermitage Church who is already a convicted sex offender has been sentenced to prison for sex crimes committed against 11 boys.
A judge in Mercer County last week sentenced 30-year-old Mark Heotzler to a total of seven to fifteen years in prison after he pleaded no contest earlier to nine charges including depicting child sex acts on a digital file, criminal solicitation, sexual assault, and disseminating explicit sex material of a minor.
At the time 53 counts were filed against Heotzler last year, he was already serving a three-to-23-month jail sentence in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, where he was convicted of unlawful contact with a minor.
The majority of the stem from alleged incidents involving eleven males, all of whom were under the age of 18 when they occurred between 2015 and 2021, according to a criminal complaint filed by Pennsylvania State Police investigators.
One victim told police he was 13 years old when Heotzler took him to his home and had the boy disrobe and ride on Heotzler’s back. The boy said the two also played video games with their genitals exposed. The same boy said that two years later, Heotzler took him to his office and rubbed his genitals against the boy’s genitals.
All 11 alleged victims claim to have seen images of Heotzler’s genitals. Some say they received videos of Heotzler engaged in a sex act. In some cases, Heotzler allegedly asked the boys to send him inappropriate videos or pictures, most of which were transmitted via the social media platform Snapchat.
According to the complaint, Heotzler has confessed to most of the incidents.
The prison time will be followed by probation which includes a prohibition against having contact with any victim, members of their families, or any staff, pastors, or representatives of Grace Chapel Church, where he was a youth pastor when the offenses occurred.