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Youth pastor charged with sex crimes gets bail reduced

The former Carpinteria youth pastor charged with child molestation and child rape got his bail reduced on Wednesday.

Louis Bristol, 28, sat quietly in court in an orange jail jumpsuit. He has been in custody since Feb. 27.

He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him, which include sex acts with two minors, one 14-year-old and one 16-year-old.

Bristol’s attorney, Larry Powell, argued his $2 million bail should be reduced because he has no history of violence and is not a threat to the community.

“Worst-case scenario for Mr. Bristol is that they were consensual sex acts,” said Powell to Judge Clifford Anderson in court.

Deputy District Attorney Paula Waldman says the former youth pastor at Carpinteria Community Church and former assistant manager at the Holiday Inn Express is a threat.

“He is a person who misused his power. Who misused his affiliation with a religious organization and he took advantage of young girls,” said Waldman in court.

Judge Anderson reduced Bristol’s bail to $500,000, which is double what his attorney wanted.

“If he posts out, there will be certain conditions he has to follow including wearing a GPS device, not contact the victims or any witnesses,” said Powell.

Also, both of his former employers cannot offer him his job back.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s investigation is on-going. Some of the key evidence against Bristol is coming from his own cellphone and the phones of his alleged victims.

“We’ve retrieved videos, text messages and photographs that are all pertinent and relevant to this case,” said Detective Chris Corbett.

The victims’ parents were in court on Wednesday afternoon, but did not want to speak to the media.

“It’s hard. It’s hard for them to be in court,” said Waldman about the parents. “It’s hard for them to listen to how the defense attorney is characterizing the case.”

Bristol will be back in court on May 2.

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