Portsmouth, Va. – A 29-year-old youth minister at Western Branch Baptist Church in Portsmouth has been arrested and charged with taking indecent liberties with minors.
Brian M. Norris was arrested at his home in Chesapeake.
Norris, who has been a youth minister for approximately six years at the church, allegedly came into contact with the victims during youth group activities at the church.
All of the victims were under 18.
Police say the inappropriate relations have went on for several years, and that one of the victims contacted them Tuesday to report it.
A probable cause summary filed in court goes into more detail, saying the victims told police that on several occasions at the church, Norris fondled them above and beneath their clothing.
It also states that Norris asked one of the victims to have sex with him.
Norris is currently in the custody of the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office on four felony warrants for indecent liberties by custodian.
The church’s pastor, Dr. Walter Black, says he knew nothing about the allegations until Norris’ arrest.
“It’s challenging. It is gut-wrenching. It brings me to the point of trusting that God will get us through this,” he says.
Police are not releasing the ages or genders of the victims. Dr. Black says Norris worked with kids in the 6th – 12th grade.
Marie Clark says she regularly brought her son to the church’s youth group meetings on Wednesday nights, which he attended with friends.
“It’s going to make me go question my son about how was things there and what happened or just let me know. Because it’s just a big shock,” she says.
Norris has been placed on administrative leave.
“We want to be like Christ, like in our actions towards the accused family. Yet at the same time, cautious with how we address and deal with the children,” Dr. Black says.
Detectives are continuing to investigate these allegations and are asking anyone with any information in reference to this case to please call the Portsmouth Police Department’s Special Victims Unit at 757-393-8536.