By CHRISTIN COYNE
A Weatherford man who authorities believe molested multiple young boys while posing as a mentor pleaded guilty Friday morning and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Ethan Charles Stringer, 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree felony indecency with a child by sexual contact after molesting a 13-year-old Parker County boy last April. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Stringer reportedly told the victim’s family that he was training to be a youth pastor and would keep the boy “on the right path.”
The assault occurred the night before Stringer was to accompany the family to church for Easter.
Stringer’s sentence is expected to run concurrently with a sentence on a similar case in Nolan County where Stringer volunteered with the junior rodeo.
During the investigation, authorities located another Parker County boy who may have been an additional victim of Stringer, Assistant District Attorney Robert DuBoise told 415th District Judge Graham Quisenberry Friday. However, with the blessing of the minor’s parents, they decided not to pursue charges in that case, he said.
The boy’s mother spoke to Stringer after he was sentenced, telling him that he took her son’s innocence and preyed upon her family.
Stringer had no idea how he scarred her son for life, the victim’s mother stated.
“God had a hand in bringing you to justice,” the boy’s mother told him, adding that she did not feel the sentence was reflective of what he did.
If it were up to him, he wouldn’t get out of jail, Stringer’s victim told him in a statement read by his mother.
Stringer shouldn’t think he had beaten him, that he would be a man of dignity, unlike Stringer, the boy told Stringer.
“You can’t do this to any more boys because I was strong enough to turn you in,” the boy stated.
Stringer’s relationships with other young teen boys during recent years concerned multiple parents who contacted the Democrat after Stringer’s arrest last year.
Two families told the Democrat that, prior to the incident last year, Stringer volunteered for a short time with Trinity Bible Church and was around young boys.
One father said he brought concerns of behavior he believed to be innappropriate, though not illegal, to the attention of church leaders more than once over a several month time period before Stringer left the church.
Asked about Stringer’s role and time with the church, Executive Pastor Judd Vier declined to comment and said information had been turned over to police.
The church has an extensive volunteer policy and potential volunteers must fill out an application and go through an interview process and background check, according to Vier. A background check was completed on Stringer, he said.