PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A preacher accused of inappropriately touching a teenage male congregation member was in court Wednesday, but his attorney says whatever happened was between consenting adults.
Following the hearing, the defense attorney and a website reporter, who says he’s been tracking the case, got into a verbal exchange outside of the magistrate’s office in Munhall over whether the reporter had a relationship with the preacher.
Duane Youngblood was treated as a Bishop at the “Higher Call World Outreach Church” in Homestead and was charged with corrupting a minor earlier this month. He has a previous sex assault conviction.
Defense attorney Milton Raiford postponed Wednesday’s preliminary hearing for Youngblood. Raiford told reporters that church politics were behind the accusations and that the most recent sexual acts occurred when the alleged victim was over 18, contrary to the victim’s claims.
Website reporter Leonard Robinson, who says he writes for the website pimppreacher.com, then asked Raiford if he thought a convicted sex offender should pastor a church. Raiford told him he would need a lawyer because he may be called as a witness in this case.
Raiford: “Who are you?”
Robinson: “I’m Leonard Robinson.”
Raiford: “You’re not the media. I have nothing to say to you.”
Robinson: “Yes, I am the media.”
Raiford: “You’re going to end up being a witness. You’re going to end up being a witness. I would advise you to get an attorney.”
As the argument intensified, Raiford asked him, “Have you told your wife about your own relationship with the bishop?”
Robinson replied he had no such relationship with Youngblood.
“Have you told your wife that you and the bishop were in a sexual relationship together?” asked Raiford.
“Oh, that I was in a sexual relationship with bishop Youngblood?” replied Robinson, taken aback.
“Have you told your wife that? Have you told anybody that?” asked Raiford.
“There is no relation that I had with Bishop Youngblood,” said Robinson. “And you can call me to court, you can summons me, I don’t care I already know.”
Late Wednesday, the website issued a statement also denying any relationship between Robinson and the bishop and threatened to take legal action against Raiford, calling his remarks slanderous.
“We hold these men to a high standard. We hold these men to a standard of not to touch the children. To leave the children alone and if you’re a registered sex offender that automatically makes you unfit for service,” said Robinson, referring to Youngblood.
In 2006, Youngblood wrote the book “Freedom From Homosexuality: No Longer Living The Lie,” which chronicles his own stories and “the enemy’s plan against him.”
The male congregation member, now 21, told police Youngblood sexually abused him over a two-and-a-half year period from 2009 to 2011 while Youngblood was supposed to be counseling him at the church. The assaults allegedly happened in the church office, bathroom and back room. The victim told police the abuse ended when he told Youngblood he didn’t want to be counseled by him anymore.
The criminal complaint also says Youngblood showed a pornographic video to the victim.
In 2006, Youngblood was accused of molesting a 15-year-old boy and was sentenced to one year of intermediate punishment and seven years’ probation. He is a registered sex offender.
Meantime, Youngblood’s preliminary hearing has been postponed for two weeks.