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“They trusted him completely,” Former Shawnee youth pastor arraigned on sex crime charges

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SHAWNEE, Okla. — A former youth pastor was arraigned in Pottawatomie County on Thursday morning after being accused of sex crimes.

Brian Burchfield is accused of sending inappropriate text messages to teenage boys who attend a church he once worked for in Shawnee.

We’re told Burchfield was the youth pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church for several years and gained the trust of some teenage boys in the youth group.

Police tell us they’ve talked to four of those boys in the past week who told them their text conversations with Burchfield were starting to make them uncomfortable.

Police tell us Burchfield would ask the boys for pictures of themselves and talk to them about pornography.

Burchfield was arraigned Thursday, accused of crimes that have shocked families from Shawnee to Edmond.

Investigators say Burchfield had been inappropriately texting four former youth group members, all boys between the ages 14 and 17.

“They looked at him almost like a second father figure. They trusted him completely in the status he was in, his role in their lives,” Detective Ethan Rieves said.

Court documents show when the alleged victims were interviewed by police, they said Burchfield “invited the juveniles to attend a ‘Man Journey Retreat’ with him” where “he took the juveniles to his in-laws’ lake house in Eufaula, Oklahoma."

That was in July of last year.

The teens told police, “Burchfield came up with the idea that he and the juveniles go skinny dipping on two separate occasions.”

Police brought Burchfield in to talk on Wednesday, and we’re told he confessed.

Court documents show Burchfield told police, he’d “just change into the mindset of a juvenile kid when he was around them and would do stupid stuff.”

A concerned parent got the investigation going, police say, when they took extra precautions to look out for their son.

“The parent did everything right. The parent set up their devices to when their child was receiving text messages or instant messages through their device, it would automatically go to the parent’s device as well,” Det. Rieves said.

Burchfield has been fired from his latest college pastor position, and formal charges against him are pending.

Immanuel Baptist Church released the following statement:

“We are very saddened to hear of the allegations regarding Brian Burchfield, a former minister at our church. We have no indications whatsoever that any inappropriate conduct occurred while Brian was an employee at Immanuel. We are fully cooperating with law enforcement officials and have provided them all of the information we have. We are praying for any people affected and trusting God to provide His presence and peace at this difficult time.”

Jail officials told us Burchfield is free on a $50,000 bond.

His next court date is in two weeks.