Methodist Pastor in Oregon Charged with Producing Child Pornography

ColoradoJames Parkhurst, 56, a United Methodist pastor and former national youth camp official for the Methodists appeared in a federal court in Denver to answer criminal charges that he produced 163 child pornography images of five boys taken at national parks in Colorado and across the West and then sent them by U.S. mail to 15 states to child pornography collectors.  The boys who were photographed were between the ages of 9 and 12 years old.

“In many of the images, the boys are looking directly at the camera and smiling or smirking with an expression that suggests sexual coyness,” according to a Denver court affidavit.

In 2015, Parkhurst was named executive director of Oregon-Idaho Conference Board of Camp and Retreat Ministries of the United Methodist Church’s Camp and Retreat Ministry Program.  He was appointed to the post by Bishop Grant J. Hagiya of the United Methodist Church in July 2015.

The court documents indicate that Parkhurst would regularly take boys on camping trips to national parks including Rocky Mountain National Park on annual trips between 2007 and 2014, the records say. During the 2010 trip, he traveled with the boys to Manitou Springs, Pikes Peak and Estes Park. He admitted to investigators that he took the nude pictures of boys.

He also took the boys to Germany, Canada, France, Peru, Brazil, Vietnam, Italy, Greece and Sweden and Hawaii, the records indicate.  In spite of the allegations, the United Methodist Church fired off a letter to church leaders and camp supporters stating that Parkhurst didn’t have regular contact with children.   In light of the evidence presented in federal court thus far, the letter’s assertions are odd and reflect the church’s efforts to control a story that will stain the reputation of the church as well as the camp and ministry program.


Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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