"Really Stupid": Former Youth Pastor Facing Child Porn Charge


Nathan L. Rogers, accused of production of child pornography
Nathan L. Rogers (photo courtesy of Genesee County Sheriff's Office)

BUFFALO — Christian youth pastor Nathan L. Rogers’ contrition began immediately after he used iPhones to secretly film a 12-year old girl at Darien Lake amusement park in 2019, federal court papers allege.


“I did something really stupid,” Rogers admitted to Genesee County Sheriff’s investigators, according to the documents. “I set up a camera while someone was changing in my camper.”


Though Rogers pleaded guilty to a state crime and served time in connection with the incident, FBI agents charged him with producing child pornography — a federal crime — on March 30, 2021. The FBI’s forensic analysis of Rogers’ phones yielded two 14-minute videos that show him planting the devices in his camper, followed by the victim changing her clothes, according to an FBI affidavit.


Rogers, 37, of East Aurora, N.Y., is facing between 15 and 30 years in prison if convicted, federal prosecutors said. The FBI’s examination of the phones also revealed internet searches for sexual images and videos of underage girls, according to the affidavit.


The victim joined Rogers’ youth group in the winter of 2019. That June, Rogers asked her to babysit his two children, according to an FBI affidavit.


Via texts, Rogers told the victim to bring her bathing suit in case she played with his children in the sprinkler, the documents said. He later showed her a bathroom where she could change.


The victim, who babysat Rogers’ children twice, was unsure if she’d been filmed while at Rogers home, but sensed she may have been filmed while in Rogers’ kitchen, according to the documents.


In July 2019, she and other youth group members attended Kingdom Bound, a Christian music festival at Darien Lake.


“The victim also said that at the church’s camp site at Kingdom Bound, there was a large trailer separating the girls’ and boys’ sides of the site,” the affidavit states. “Rogers set his pop-up camper on the girls’ side.”


After using the water park on July 31, the victim headed to her tent to change, according to the documents.


“Her youth pastor, Rogers, invited the victim to change in his camper because he said it would be more comfortable than changing in a hot tent,” the affidavit states.


While she was changing in the camper, the victim spotted an iPhone hidden in some clothing on a ledge, and another concealed in some sheets on the bed, court papers said. She examined both phones, deleted the videos of her changing, put them back where she found them and exited the camper.


That’s when Rogers started in with his contrition, telling the victim that they were both sensitive, and that he hadn’t wanted to harm her, according to the affidavit.


“I’m not the person I wish I was…” Rogers said to the victim, in part. “If there’s anything that I did, tell me, or talk to me, or talk to a leader.”


After telling a friend about the incident, the victim called her mother to pick her up, the documents state.


“The victim also told law enforcement that she noticed Rogers looked very worried when she was on the phone with her mother,” the documents state.


The friend and another youth leader drove the victim to the park's front gate to meet her mother, who then drove the victim to a nearby business location to speak with sheriff’s deputies.


Meanwhile the church pastor, who’d heard about the incident, spoke with Rogers. Along with admitting to filming the girl, Rogers surrendered his phones to the pastor, who examined them and found previews for the two deleted videos.


“I need to step down,” Rogers told the pastor, according to the affidavit. “I am not well.”


Sheriff’s investigators later found Rogers sitting in his vehicle in the park, and asked him if he knew why they were there. After stating he’d been stupid, Rogers agreed to a search of the devices and confirmed that he'd set up the phones to film the victim changing and


“Rogers said he thought about killing himself when he realized the videos were discovered by the victim,” the affidavit states. Though Rogers also waived his Miranda rights, he declined to say if he’d ever secretly filmed anyone else.


“I am not going to answer that right now,” Rogers said, according to the affidavit.


Sheriff’s investigators arrested Rogers and Life Church Buffalo fired him. He pleaded guilty to second-degree unlawful surveillance in December 2019, and a Genesee County Court judge sentenced him to six months in jail and five years probation.


Rogers is free on a $10,000 bond.


82 views
Original on Transparent.png
  • Facebook
  • Twitter