Why is First Evangelical Free Church of Maplewood being noted?
There were about 40 lettlers to the court in support of Gary Odell Weldon
who pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The First Evangelical Free Church of Maplewood
2696 Hazelwood Street
Maplewood, MN 55109
General Information: email@example.com
Jonathan Caldwell, Pastor of Children's Ministries
Gil Fruchey, Pastor of Worship & Music
Kenny King, Associate Pastor of Youth & Families
Todd Olson, Senior Pastor
George Wold, Pastor of Senior Adult Ministries
Gary Odell Weldon, 65, pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
(Ramsey County sheriff's office)
former Maplewood church youth leader who taught for a short time in St.
Paul public schools, according to friends, was sentenced Thursday to
120 days behind bars for molesting a White Bear Lake teen in the 1990s.
Odell Weldon, 65, of White Bear Lake pleaded guilty Oct. 14 to
second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a boy whose family was
close friends with Weldon.
Ramsey County District Judge Robyn
Millenacker also ordered Weldon, who now works in real estate, to pay a
$5,000 fine, undergo a psychosexual evaluation, stay away from alcohol
and have no contact with anyone younger than 18. Weldon will be
required to register as a predatory offender.
Millenacker told him to report to the Ramsey County Workhouse on Tuesday.
was a youth leader at First Evangelical Free Church of Maplewood for 15
to 20 years, according to the criminal complaint filed against him.
victim's parents said Weldon also taught eighth-graders in the St. Paul
school district in the early 1970s. A district spokeswoman could not
confirm that detail late Thursday.
The judge said she had read
all 47 letters she had received in support of Weldon. However, she
said, "The 47 letters cannot overcome your predatory conduct toward
She noted that he started abusing the boy after the
boy's brother had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Weldon
suggested that he should check the boy's testicles, too.
"You used the victim's family's tragedy as an opportunity to physically molest a teenager," she said.
a letter from the now-32-year-old victim, which was read in court by
his father, he said, "I thought (Weldon) was truly looking out for me"
when he "checked" his genitals.
The victim said Weldon was a
close family friend who regularly went on vacations with them and even
dated the boy's aunt. His family now believes the dating relationship
was a way for Weldon to stay close to the boy, he said in his letter.
victim's parents said after the hearing that they finally put a stop to
Weldon's relationship with their son because Weldon was clearly only
interested in spending time with the youngster. The boy was spending
virtually no time with children his own age.
Under terms of the
plea deal, a 21-month prison sentence could be imposed if Weldon does
not abide by the rules of his 25-year probation.
Weldon said nothing before sentencing.
his plea hearing, Weldon admitted he had abused the victim, who was
identified only by his initials, from February 1992 to February 1996,
beginning when the boy was 13.
He agreed that he put his hand in the victim's pants and touched him on his private parts "approximately a dozen times."
abuse took place at the victim's home and at a cabin in Wisconsin,
Weldon said. Weldon would have been in his mid- to late 40s then.
attorney, Phil Villaume, said Thursday that the abuse was an "isolated
incident" and that Weldon is a "highly respected leader in his church
According to the county attorney's office:
Weldon committed third-degree criminal sexual conduct against another
boy in June 2010 in Columbus, Ohio. Weldon and the boy were there for a
church youth-group trip, according to the criminal complaint in the
1990s case. The Ohio case is pending. Weldon "vehemently" denies the
charge, his attorney said.
-- Weldon committed third-degree
criminal sexual conduct from 1965 to 1968 in St. Paul when the victim
was between 11 and 14 years old.