A former youth pastor entered a guilty plea yesterday before United States District Judge Lee P. Rudofsky to two charges of transporting minors across state lines for the purpose of unlawful sexual activity.
50-year-old Robert Shiflet had previously entered a not guilty plea to multiple charges related to sexual contact with children between May 1997 and September 2002 during which time he was a youth pastor in Little Rock, Arkansas, but also spanned into his tenure as a youth pastor at Denton Bible Church.
June 2, 2020 Shiflet was indicted on three counts of transportation of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity and one count of coercion of a minor to engage in sexual activity.
In exchange for his guilty plea to two of the counts of transportation, the final transportation charge and the charge of coercion were dropped.
Each count of transportation is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to three years of supervised release. The Denton Record-Chronicle, citing court documents, indicates that the prosecution has agreed to a term of between 27 and 33 months for each count, with the sentence to run concurrently.
Ultimately though, Judge Rudofsky has the authority to issue whatever sentence he deems appropriate.
The date he will sentence Shiflet has not yet been determined.
“This defendant took advantage of his position of trust as a mentor to young people and instead used his power to isolate and sexually abuse them,” stated U.S. Attorney Hiland in a statement released by the US Department of Justice. “This predatory behavior is never acceptable, but it is particularly disturbing when the offender is a youth pastor. Our office will continue to aggressively pursue those who commit these deplorable crimes.”