19 child sex charges filed against ex-Steamboat teacher, pastor
April 18, 2012
Steamboat Springs — A former Steamboat Springs private school teacher and pastor has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting one or more children in Routt County.
John Holland Brothers Jr., 43, was booked into Routt County Jail on Tuesday night after being arrested in Louisiana last week. He was booked on 27 felony charges. Among them: eight counts of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, four counts of sexual assault on a child, seven counts of sexual assault and eight counts of first-degree burglary.
An arrest warrant outlining the details of the allegations has been sealed by a judge. The location of the incidents has been redacted in the list of charges filed in Routt County District Court, but the charges state the crimes Brothers is accused of committing took place from April 1, 2006, to May 31, 2008.
For at least some of that time, Brothers was a pastor at First Baptist Church in Yampa and was a teacher at Heritage Christian School west of Steamboat Springs. According to Steamboat Today archives, Brothers started teaching at the small private school in April 2006. He was hired to teach junior high and high school science, high school math and Bible class.
Routt County Undersheriff Ray Birch said authorities think Brothers moved to the area in 2005 and lived at various times in Hayden, Steamboat and Yampa.
Brothers took a job as a youth minister at Hyland Baptist Church in Henderson, Ky., in summer 2008. In May 2009, Brothers returned to Heritage Christian School to give the school's commencement address.
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According to an article in The Gleaner newspaper, of Henderson, police said Brothers moved to Louisiana after deacons at the Baptist church in Kentucky confronted him about sexual allegations from two members of the youth group.
In November, police in Kentucky arrested Brothers on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, and he was indicted by a grand jury in February, The Gleaner reported. Until being arrested by Routt County Sheriff's Office investigator T.J. Sisto on Friday in Louisiana, Brothers had been free on bond awaiting a May 17 trial in Kentucky.
Birch said his office began investigating Brothers in March after receiving information from a Routt County resident. Birch said investigators think there are multiple local victims, but he would not say how many alleged victims are involved with the charges already filed by the Routt County District Attorney's Office.
"We've conducted extensive interviews," Birch said. "We have many more to do."
The charges indicate that at least one alleged victim was younger than 15. The first-degree burglary charges state Brothers "knowingly entered or remained unlawfully after a lawful or unlawful entry" into a building with the intent of committing sexual assault on a child.
Heritage Christian School board member Mark Stine said the school would not be prepared to discuss the matter until Thursday, and Yampa First Baptist Church pastor Kelly Carlson did not immediately return a message seeking comment Wednesday afternoon.
The Sheriff's Office is seeking information from anyone, particularly children, who had contact with Brothers during his time in Routt County. Anyone with information is asked to call 970-870-5503 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Phone calls made after business hours or on the weekend should be made to Routt County Communications at 970-879-1090. Callers should request to speak with an on-duty deputy.
Brothers appeared in Routt County Court on Wednesday via a video feed from Routt County Jail. His bond was set at $500,000, and he is due back in court at 9 a.m. Friday.
"I will be hiring a lawyer here," Brothers told Judge James Garrecht. "My intent is to take care of business in Kentucky and return here to take care of the business that is here."
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com