A youth pastor at River Valley Church in Savage was charged Monday with trying to solicit nude photos from girls ages 13 to 15 via Facebook and other social media sites.
Matthew T. Boos, 24, of St. Louis Park told investigators that he posed as a 15-year-old girl on the sites, using the names Jordyn Saltzer on Facebook and Robin Martens on a site called MeetMe, according to the criminal complaint.
The charges filed Monday involved a girl from Pope County in western Minnesota, but investigators believe there may be others. They urged victims or parents who believe their child was solicited to contact their local police or sheriff’s office.
River Valley Church, which has six campuses in the Twin Cities, released a statement Monday afternoon that said Boos had been fired.
Boos was charged with two felonies: soliciting a child or a person believed to be a child through electronic communication to engage in sexual conduct and engaging in electronic communication relating or describing sexual conduct with a child.
He appeared before District Judge Gerald Seibel on Monday and was ordered held pending future court appearances. He is being held in the Douglas County jail; Pope County does not have a jail.
The complaint said a woman in Pope County met with a sheriff’s deputy in January and showed him Facebook messages her daughter had exchanged with Boos, who was posing as Saltzer. In the messages, Boos asked the girl if she was “bi-curious, what kind of panties she wears and then expressed a desire to exchange nude photos,” the complaint said.
Investigators went to the home Boos shares with his wife and another roommate Friday with a search warrant. Boos said that “pornography was something he had struggled with since high school,” the complaint said. He admitted creating the fake personas and said no one else knew about them.
Boos told investigators that he met his victims via his job as youth pastor at River Valley Church, but the girls didn’t know they were actually communicating with him. After Boos was arrested Friday, River Valley Church’s pastor Darin Poli said Boos had worked there for three years and passed a background check. Poli didn’t return a phone call Monday.
The church’s statement Monday read, “The safety of our children and church remains a high priority. We will also continue to hold all of our pastoral staff to high standards of personal integrity.
“We are focusing on the well being of anyone impacted by these allegations and fully cooperating with the relevant authorities involved.”