Nation & World

Nashville youth pastor from ‘Undercover High’ set in Topeka facing statutory rape charges

A former youth pastor in Nashville facing charges for statutory rape was one of the young adults secretly embedded among students at a Topeka high school for the A&E documentary series, “Undercover High” that aired earlier this year.

Daniel Goodloe was charged last month with five counts of statutory rape for incidents that allegedly happened while he was a youth pastor at a church in West Nashville, according to court records obtained by WSMV in Nashville.

“We were recently made aware of a situation involving a participant of ‘Undercover High,’” Misty Kruger, director of communications for Topeka Public Schools, said in a statement to McClatchy on Thursday. “This incident does not involve any students of our district, and none of the events occurred in Topeka.

“We have not been contacted by any law enforcement agencies regarding this case, but we would fully cooperate if contacted.”

Goodloe was one of seven young adults, all in their 20s, from across the country who went to school with students at Highland Park High School in Topeka during the 2017 spring semester.

They enrolled as real students, went to classes, took tests, and went to sporting events, dances and graduation, all the while living in Topeka during filming, the Kansas City Star reported in January when the series began airing. Cameras followed them and the students they interacted with.

“Prior to participation on the show, participants were fully vetted via a criminal background check, a work history check and a psychological evaluation,” Kruger said in her statement. “All participants passed each level of screening and the continued psychological checks throughout the filming.”

Acccording to Scoop Nashville, a Davidson County Grand Jury found that on at least five occasions Goodloe “used his legal, professional, or occupational status, and used his position of trust or power to accomplish the sexual penetration” of the victim in the alleged incidents.

The counts cover a period of time from May 2016 to October 2017, Scoop Nashville reported.

Goodloe was working with the West Nashville Deam Center and Cross Point Church, when the alleged incident with a teenager in the youth program took place, according to WZTV in Nashville. The TV station noted that in the summer of 2017, Goodloe slept on top of his church to raise money for school supplies.

WSMV reported that Goodloe left the center in April.

Cross Point’s lead pastor, Kevin Queen, said in a video statement last week that church officials several months ago “became aware of a situation that occurred over a year ago that created reasonable suspicion on our part of inappropriate conduct between a former part-time employee of our Dream Center programs and a teenager in the program.

“We reported our concerns immediately to the authorities and there’s been an ongoing investigation over the last few months and recently an arrest.”

The employee in question, Queen said, “is no longer associated with the Dream Center programs or Cross Point church. We do not know exactly what happened or what’s going to happen. But here’s what we’re committed to as a church.

“First, we’re going to do all we can to bring healing and justice to this situation, including the decision to make this information public to you now. Second, full cooperation with law enforcement.”

He said the church will retrain employees “and stress the importance of proper adult and student interactions. And fourth, communication with you as a congregation. And then fifth, prayer. I want you to know this makes me sad and it makes me upset.”