A South Bay youth pastor was arrested last week on suspicion of sex crimes involving minors, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.
Joseph Silva Jr., 31, of Campbell was arrested Thursday after three men and one boy reported to the Saratoga Federated Church they had been the victims of sexual abuse over the past five years, the sheriff’s office said. The three men, who currently are 19 to 20 years old, said they were juveniles at the time of the abuse.
At the time of his arrest, Silva admitted to deputies he exhcanged sexually explicit photos with the victims via text message and social media, the sheriff’s office said. There are also two other potential juvenile victims, and detectives are actively investigating.
Silva was booked into the Main Jail in San Jose on possession and distribution of child pornography, lewd acts, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and sexual battery, the sheriff’s office said.
Silva is a youth leader at the Saratoga church and works as a teacher at a Mandarin Immersion Program hosted at the West Valley Presbyterian Church in Cupertino, officials said.
Minister Jerry Bruce of Saratoga Federated Church released a statement Monday, saying in essence the protection of children and young people is of paramount concern, and abuse is never tolerated. He said the church contacted law enforcement immediately and is fully cooperating.
Silva was released on $124,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on July 8.
The investigation is ongoing, and sheriff’s detectives are working with church officials to ensure there are no other victims, the sheriff’s office said. Anyone with information on the case should contact the sheriff’s office at 408-808-4500 or the anonymous tip line at 408-808-4431.
This post was originally posted at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Saratoga-Priest-Arrested-For-Alleged-Sex-Crimes-With-Minors-509874411.html.