Youth pastor facing dozens of charges for child pornography

Brandon Dasilva, 26, of Terre Hill, Pennsylvania. [Image credit: Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office]

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Until his arrest Monday, 26-year-old Brandon Dasilva had been the youth pastor at the Weaverland Anabaptist Faith Community Church where he held the title of Pastor of Student Ministries. He has now facing 31 charges related to child ponography.

 

Lead pastor Brian Martin soon posted a statement to the church's website indicating that Dasilva's "credential was suspended and employment was suspended without pay pending the outcome of the charges."

 

Martin went on to state, "We are deeply grieved by the allegations and those potentially harmed by Mr. Dasilva. We are cooperating fully with the state's attorney's office and the ongoing investigaiton.

 

"We are not aware that any of the alleged victims were affiliated with Weaverland Anabaptist Faith Community; however, we encourage anyone with additional relevant information to contact the authorities."

 

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the charges against Dasilva include 26 counts of sexual abuse of children for possession of child pornography, four counts of sexual abuse of children for disseminating child pornography, and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

 

"The defendant was trusted as a faith leader for young people in Lancaster, but out of the public eye was exploiting children," Shapiro stated. "Brandon Dasilva undermined the authority placed in him by his community, and betrayed the trust of the young people who believed in him. We will continue to work to protect children and hold those who abuse them accountable."

 

The investigation, worked by Homeland Security Investigations and the attorney general's office Child Predator Section, was launched in April 2020 when investigators began to look into a Kik account that was reportedly distributing images of child pornography.  That account led investigators to the IP address and the IP address led investigators to the residence of DaSilva.

 

A search warrant was served at the home and his electronic devices were searched, revealing the child pornography.

 

According to Lancaster Online, Dasilva also worked as a counselor at Woodcrest Retreat, and Ephrata Christian summer camp between 2013 and 2016. In 2017 he returned to work in a support role for other staff members.

"From the information we have received, we have no reason to believe that any of the alleged victims were connected to Woodcrest Retreat or that any inappropriate activity ever took place here," Bill Klees, the camp's executive director said in a statement. "However, we do encourage anyone with additional, relevant information to contact the authorities."

 

After he was charged on Tuesday, Dasilva posted the $75,000 bond through a bail bondsman. He is scheduled to return to court on March 5 at 9:00 am for a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Jonathan Heisse.

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