Former Tempe Pervert Pastor Pleads Guilty to Molesting Two Additional Girls in Ohio

Joshua O'Bannion
A former pastor at a Tempe church -- serving a 15-year prison sentence for molesting a 14-year-old member of his congregation -- has pleaded guilty to molesting two other members of a congregation he led in Ohio.

Joshua O'Bannion, 27, pleaded guilty in a Cuyahoga County, Ohio, court to four counts of sexual battery and three counts of sexual conduct with a minor for molesting the two Ohio girls.

O'Bannion first was arrested in September 2009. He admitted to having sex with the girl at least three times while serving as youth pastor at the Christ Life Church in Tempe.

At the time, police suspected there could be other victims -- and there were.

After hearing about the pastor's arrest in Arizona, police in Parma, Ohio, say two girls, also 14, came forward to say O'Bannion had sex with them, too, when he was a pastor at their church. 

Parma police spokesman Marty Compton told New Times in 2009 that while serving at the First United Pentecostal Church of Parma, O'Bannion had sex with the girls inside the church.

O'Bannion's grandfather, it so happens, is the head pastor at the Ohio church?

Compton says O'Bannion served at the church from 2006 until late 2008 when he came to the Valley.

We can only speculate why O'Bannion left his family-run church to come here, but the allegations stem back to his starting at the Ohio church in 2006.

O'Bannion was back visiting his Ohio congregation just before his arrest here. After seeing O'Bannon, Compton says, some of the girls at the church were "spooked."

Compton says the church didn't exactly cooperate in the investigation, either. He says members seemed in a state of denial.

"We've seen a lot of these churches try to solve these things in house," Compton says. "Whether he saw [moving to Arizona] as a stepping stone or he was running from something, we don't know."

O'Bannion's sentencing in the Ohio cases is scheduled July 25, according to, a local news website.

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witness to shameful behavior
witness to shameful behavior

Today  I went to the Justice Center  to watch  a young man  accept his sentence.        On June 13th,  Joshua O'Bannion pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual battery and three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Joshua  was sentenced to 15 years behind bars to be served in  a Arizona prison,  where he was also charged with raping  two minors.  While incarcerated he must seek help for his perversion, upon release  he will be on probation and also be registered as a Tier III Sexual Offender for the remainder of his life.       During the year of 2008,  former youth minister Joshua age 24,  sexually assaulted two young girls ages 14 and 15 who attended The First United Pentecostal Church of Parma. The assaults occurred in and outside of the church . He then left Ohio  and continued his alleged ministries in Arizona where he once again  portrayed himself as a minister then began to prey upon  young girls. He was found guilty in 2009 for the rape of two Arizona girls. As I sat in Court,  what I witnessed was amazing both positive and  negative ways.  * Let's start with the positive.....I sat with a large group of people who love and support two young beautiful girls that were  molested  by a man who claimed to be a minister. He used his authority to manipulate, then  assault them.  The girls sat with a somber look on their face,  I am sure just wanting for this day to come to an end,  I noticed one of the girl's step father reached over and held her hand , the unspoken words between them, knowing she was going to be okay.   A  brother sitting next to his older sister, trying to be her protector.  Parents of the girls digging deep with- in themselves finding the inner strength to be strong for their daughters.  Extended family and friends with kind words and  simple gestures showing support.  The unity in the group was amazing . Then there is the negative..... The Father of the sex offender, verbally assaulted, then tried to physically trip   a person who was there to support the victims. The family of the offender sat with  demeaning stares towards the victims and their families , snide comments were also made towards the victims.  They even sat outside the Justice Center to  offer that last glare, one last chance to persecute.   Once again, they tried very hard to intimidate the victims. How sad is that? I understand his family is hurt,  I understand the anger. I understand  the bitterness with the situation, I understand that a family has unconditional love and should support one another...I really do understand ! What I don't understand.....Why is it the offender plead guilty, yet the victims are still being chastised ? Why were there  non family members there to intimidate ? How is it they try to justify his actions?  Please help me... because I am clueless. What I can say is... *To a few of you....Joshua B. ....really? you really will follow these people and justify their actions?                     Nanny G..your Dad and grandparents are turning in their graves, knowing what a disgrace you are.                     Tara......Wow ! Just to think that you were once a friend of these two girls.... disgusting!!! *Thank you Joshua O'Bannion for telling the truth, for accepting the responsibility of your actions and not making the girls suffer  by putting them thru a trial. *Thank you to The Honorable Judge Lance T. Mason for accepting his plea and bringing closure. *Thank you to the Parma Police and the County Prosecutors. Justice has been served...thank you! *Thank you to all of you who came to support the girls, your love , words of encouragement, prayers and just being there was greatly appreciated. *Thank you to all of you that kept these families in your prayers. It was God that gave them strength to get thru this night mare * Thank you to the came forward, told the truth and really saved other girls from becoming victims. Philippians 4:13I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.  FOR LEGAL PURPOSE... Since this note is of the public nature....I must say this.....The allegations made by me are to be truthful to the best of my knowledge, You may search the Maricopa,  Arizona  and the Cuyahoga , Ohio websites for the official rulings. The opinions expressed are solely my own and does not represent the opinions of the families involve

Vivek Chaudhary
Vivek Chaudhary

My comments in no way condone this act. In fact, any such acts should be condemned and punished. 

But my comments are for the people in this forum who are going after the church (my observation is only for non-catholic churches because I don't know catholic churches that well). Come on guys, there are millions of people who are taken care by the churches (and its people) every day. They are provided shelter, food, their necessities, schooling etc. Cut a slack to the church in itself. Agreed that church could expedite their investigatve process and let law enforcement agency do their part.

Once again, I hate clergies taking advantage of their congregation. If they do it, they deserve the maximum punishment.


I to grew up with josh and think that what he has done is just down right disgusting. These young girls trusted him and he took full advantage of the situation. He deserves everything that is coming to him. For the family to defend him and call the victims liars and say that josh did nothing wrong blows my mind. If he was truely not guilty than the court in arizona and the court in cleveland would not have found him guilty and sentenced him. They are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites cause if someone else in the church would have done something like this they would have been asked to leave but yet they are standing by josh..The only people I feel sorry for in this situation is the victims and their families.


Just another shining example of organized religion at work. Kind of reminds me of the official religion of Az. CONservatives......"Christians without Conscience."


He was actually at his home church since he was born. He began preaching at the age of 12, and preached there, as well as around the country for years before he was put in as assistant pastor, and YOUTH LEADER. He plead guilty, but his grandparents still continue to try and hide what he's done. They always have, and nothing will ever change. Many members have left that church, myself included. All he did in the courtroom was smirk at the victims, and joke with his attorney. I don't believe he's remorseful at all!

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

I could swear this story rings a bell with me about a similar situation right here in Phoenix. Only the perps, both mom and daughter, were doing a 14 year old boy. The church was trying to handle that one too. Maybe, just maybe, churches should stop trying to be cops, eh? There is a big difference between forgiving, and enforcement of the law. Once a parishoner is convicted, then the church can intervene and try to 'mend' that person with scripture, while they're doing the hard time they deserve. Then, and only then, it becomes a win for society and we have one less perp out there looking at our children as entertainment.

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