PAYETTE — A former youth pastor has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to sexual battery.
Forest Rueben Gibson, 34, was a youth pastor in Canyon County when a teenage girl there made allegations against him. While investigating her claims, Canyon County Sheriff's Detective Shawn Becker heard from a second victim in Payette County.
Gibson met the second girl at church camp, according to information from Barbara “Bobbi” Richart, chief deputy prosecuting attorney in Payette County. Gibson pleaded guilty to sexual battery against that girl — who, because she is a minor, is not being named — in District Court Jan. 9.
The battery took place on or about Feb. 23 through April 8, 2014, according to court documents. Gibson was arrested April 28.
At his sentencing, the first victim addressed the court and Gibson, Richart said. The girls said that because of his position with the church, she had trusted him.
Richart did not know what church, or even what denomination, Gibson had been part of. She also did not know whether any more victims had come forward.
Judge Susan Wiebe sentenced Gibson to eight years in prison, with the first three fixed. After three years, Gibson may be eligible for parole, Richart said.
Wiebe retains jurisdiction for 365 days. At the end of that time, she can determine if Gibson is a candidate for probation, Richart said.
In addition to his prison sentence, Gibson has been ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, $540.50 in court costs and restitution to the victim in the amount of $5,000. The latter is something not all victims are aware of, Richart said.
Gibson also must register as a sex offender.