WAUSAU – A church pastor who was installed as pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Wausau earlier this month is facing accusations of child enticement, according to court documents.
Rev. Scott Patschke was installed in a ceremony on Sept. 9 at Trinity in Wausau and resigned on Saturday, Sept. 22, church officials said. Patschke appeared last Monday in Marathon County Circuit Court, where he faces charges of child enticement/sexual contact in connection with graphic text messages and photos sent to a person Patshcke believed was a 15-year-old boy. Police arrested 53-year-old Patschke after discovering the graphic messages on his phone and iPad, according to the criminal complaint.
Until August, Patschke was the pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church in Independence. Officials of that church said Monday they do not believe he committed any such acts while at his Independence position. He had been at Messiah since 2009.
Bryan Graff, director of the board of lay ministry at Trinity in Wausau, issued this statement to Wausau Pilot and Review on behalf of the church:
“On Friday, September 21 our Senior Pastor was contacted by a group which presented evidence of improper conduct by an associate pastor of the church. The Senior Pastor and the Board of Lay Ministry reviewed this information and promptly turned it over to the police. Because the conduct was inconsistent with the standards of behavior expected of a pastor, we met with the accused individual on Saturday morning. He confessed his actions and submitted his resignation as a pastor of the church. He also resigned from the pastoral roster of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. 1 Peter 5:8-9 reminds us to constantly be vigilant: ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of things.’ It is a sad situation, and we ask for prayers for all, including the former pastor, who clearly needs support to follow through on his repentance. The Gospel proclaims that we are redeemed through Christ’s blood and count on His grace to sustain us on a daily basis.”
Patschke is originally from Giddings, Texas, according to his LinkedIn profile.
At his initial appearance last week, Patschke was released on a $2,000 signature bond. A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 8.