Police are searching for a Baptist youth minister who they believe sexually abused two teenage boys and may have more victims in parishes across the region.
Ryan Scott Rodgers, 36, is accused of touching two teenage boys while they were sleeping. The boys then woke up to find Rodgers fondling them, police said. The abuse occurred for more than a year, according to police.
NOPD Detective Stephanie Taillon said Rodgers abused the boys during sleepovers at his house and elsewhere.
“He groomed them for future molestations,” she said.
The case was brought to authorities’ attention when the boys’ mother contacted police, Taillon said.
Rodgers is not married and is not a registered sex offender.
He has turned off his phone and left his apartment in the 1700 block of Baronne Street, Taillon said, adding that he may be staying in hotels.
“I think he’s in New Orleans, and I will catch up to him,” she said.
The detective urged Rodgers to turn himself in. A court has issued a warrant for his arrest.
Taillon said Rodgers may have committed similar acts in his work as a youth minister in Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes as well. She asked anyone with information on similar crimes to call her at (504) 658-5753.
Rodgers is a 2011 graduate of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Gentilly, but Seminary President Chuck Kelley said in a statement that he had never worked with the school and had no ongoing affiliation with it.
In February, First Baptist Church in Lakeview was rocked by the news that its youth minister, Jonathan Bailey, 33, was accused of committing indecent behavior with a juvenile, a count later upgraded to sexual battery.
Taillon said she sees similarities between the two cases but that there are no known links between Bailey and Rodgers.
Police intend to book Rodgers on sexual battery and seven counts of indecent behavior with juveniles.