Ex-pastor, youth minister faces sexual assault charges

Accuser says two had adulterous relationship for years

By Mike Heine/The Week

(Published Jan. 4, 2007, 11:38 a.m.)

He told her God loved her.

She told police she had sex with him numerous times when she was between ages 15 and 17.

Now, Scott A. Hoppe, a former youth minister and assistant pastor at Grace Church in Burlington, faces multiple felony and misdemeanor sexual assault and related charges in Walworth and Racine counties.

According to court documents, Hoppe told the girl, now age 19, that he was not happy with his marriage and that is why God brought the girl into his life. He often told her he wished "something would happen to his wife" so the two could be together, according to court documents.

Hoppe, 32, allegedly had a sexual relationship with the girl beginning in April 2003, when the girl was 15 years old. The girl told police that she and her family attended Grace Church since she was 11.

The two had sexual encounters at the church, at a school where the youth groups were held, in Hoppe's home and at the girl's home in Walworth County.

The girl used to baby-sit for Hoppe's children, according to the Racine County complaint.

Hoppe would often sneak into the girl's house through a bedroom window after her parents had gone to bed and the two would have sex, according to the Walworth County complaint.

The two also watched pornographic movies together on the Internet, court records read.

In January 2004, Hoppe allegedly gave the girl a sapphire ring and told her if anything happened to his wife that he wanted to marry her, according to the Racine complaint.

The contacts occurred until the girl's 18th birthday in the summer of 2005.

Hoppe was "defrocked" by the church in November 2005 after the pastor heard of the allegations, the girl told police.

Police reviewed e-mails Hoppe allegedly sent the girl that admitted sexual contact between the two and discussed his possibly being criminally prosecuted and serving jail time.

In Racine County, Hoppe faces 51 years in prison if convicted of 10 misdemeanor counts of sex with a child age 16 or older and felony charges of repeated sexual assault of a child and exposing a child to harmful material.

Hoppe faces more than 32 years in prison if convicted of four charges in Walworth County, which include child enticement and causing a child to view sexual activity, both felonies, and misdemeanor counts of sex with a child age 16 or older and indecent exposure.

Monetary penalties could total $340,000.

Hoppe, 2206 N. Circle Drive, Colorado Springs, Colo., paid a $100,000 bond and was released from custody.

He has a pretrial conference set for Friday, Jan. 12 in Racine County and a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 17 in Walworth County.

The girl had been in counseling for seven or eight months before she talked to police last summer, according to the Racine County complaint.



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