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Awaiting DNA results in pastoral sexual abuse case

Prosecutors are awaiting the results of DNA testing that could bolster their case against an Odessa youth pastor charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.

The trial of Second Baptist Church of Odessa pastor Robert John Weber is scheduled for late April, but prosecutors said Thursday they will not be ready until they have the results of a sexual assault exam conducted last fall at Medical Center Hospital.

Weber, 44, was indicted in December on nine counts of sexual assault of a child and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child. The indictment accuses Weber of having at least three encounters with the girl in which he received and performed oral sex.

After his arrest, Weber was reassigned to a different ministry but has retained his employment at the church. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $50,000 bond.

Weber and his attorney, Jason Leach of Odessa, have declined to comment.

Court documents show prosecutors will not make any plea offers until they receive the results of the DNA testing. The state also plans to subpoena cell phone records from the 15-year-old girl, Weber and his wife.

The girl’s mother, whom the Odessa American has not identified to protect her daughter’s identity, said the records will show Weber sent dozens of harassing text messages to the girl and left her with the impression that they might one day elope.

The girl’s mother attended pre-trial proceedings Thursday in 358th District Court and said she was dismayed that the brief hearing was conducted entirely as a sidebar that was inaudible to spectators.

“They were real quiet,” she said. “It was hard to hear what was going on.”

She added that her daughter has had trouble finding a new church since she stopped attending Second Baptist. Church staff members have declined to comment.