Former Scott City, MO pastor accused of sex crimes

Pastor accused of sex crimes in Scott City, MO caught in Ohio

SCOTT CITY, MO (KFVS) - A former pastor in Scott City, Missouri faces several felony charges for alleged sex crimes.

According to authorities with the Napoleon, Ohio Municipal Court, Robert Azinger was arrested in Henry County, Ohio on Thursday, Nov. 19 for being a fugitive from justice.

Azinger faces several charges in Scott County including one count of statutory rape in the first degree, four counts of statutory sodomy in the first degree, and five counts of statutory rape in the second degree.

He is reportedly the pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Florida, Ohio.

Azinger is being held in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio on $100,000 bond. One stipulation of his bond is that he cannot have contact with children. During court, he waived extradition.

Authorities from Scott County have 30 days to go to Ohio to pick Azinger up.

Statutory rape in the first degree and statutory sodomy in the first degree carry a range of punishment from five years to 30 years on each count. Statutory rape in the second degree can carry a punishment of up to seven years on each count.

According to the Scott City Police Department, the agency took a report from a child abuse hotline in April 2010 involving Azinger.

Court documents state that in 2010 the female victim attended a safe exam after a Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline report was made for sexual assault.

According to the documents, during that exam, the girl did not disclose any information that was criminal.

Court documents state that another safe exam was scheduled years later, in 2015, when the girl came forward again and said that she hadn't been comfortable coming forward previously, and that her relationship with Azinger was more than she said in 2010.

During the exam, she recalled incidents from May 2006 to November 2009.

According to the victim, many of the incidents with Azinger occurred in his office and in the church.

Court documents state Azinger lived on Lutheran Lane, next to the Eisleben Lutheran Church in Scott City, Mo., where he was a pastor. In November 2009, the Azinger family moved to Ohio.

The current pastor at the Eisleben Lutheran Church, Marty Hasz, confirmed Azinger used to lead the house of worship.

Pastor Hasz said he and the congregation are "saddened" to hear about Azinger's arrest and the crimes he's accused of. He said the church is relying on faith to get through this difficult time.

"I believe that the Lord in his word leads us to call upon him and ask for help for the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrators and all those involved in the situation," Hasz said.

Scott County Prosecutor Paul Boyd released the following statement:

"This investigation included team work between the Henry County Ohio Prosecutor's office and Sheriff's department and the Scott County Prosecutor and Sheriff's department in serving the arrest warrant and executing a search warrant at the same time on November 19, 2015 in Florida, Ohio. During the search warrant, a number of telephones and computers were seized and sent to a forensic examiner in Ohio looking for additional local evidence and corroborative evidence for the Scott County case. We deeply appreciate the assistance provided by our counterparts in Ohio."

Azinger is scheduled for an arraignment on Dec. 8 in Scott County.

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