Federal prosecutors have opened a case against a former youth pastor caught videotaping a young girl while she undressed in 2019 at Kingdom Bound, the Christian music and arts festival held regularly at Darien Lake.
Nathan L. Rogers of West Seneca had been a youth pastor with the Life Church in West Seneca. He has already pleaded guilty to state charges of second-degree unlawful surveillance and was sentenced in December to six months in the Genesee County Jail and five years of probation.
With time off for good behavior, Rogers, 36, was scheduled for release Thursday. But arrangements were made to release him on bond because an FBI agent signed a statement March 30 accusing him of a federal count of the production of child pornography. Moves are underway to reach a plea agreement, a court document indicates.
FBI Special Agent Randall E. Garver wrote in a statement accusing Rogers that the 12-year-old victim had gone to the Darien Lake water park during Kingdom Bound, and when she returned Rogers told her she would be more comfortable changing into dry clothes in his pop-up trailer rather than in her tent.
The girl accepted his offer but after changing discovered two hidden cellphones, one partially concealed by clothes on a ledge, the other in sheets on a bed, according to Garver’s statement. She found that both had been recording her, and she deleted the images they captured, Garver wrote.
The girl then called her mother and word of the incident traveled quickly. Uniformed personnel, led by an investigator with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, approached Rogers that same day and asked him if he knew why they were there.
“I did something really stupid,” Rogers replied, according to Garver’s statement, and when asked to elaborate said: “I set up a camera while someone was changing in my camper.”
The Genesee Sheriff’s Office also took a statement from Life Church Pastor Peter Jankowski, who said that while at Kingdom Bound he heard about the incident and asked Rogers about it before the sheriff’s team arrived. “I need to step down. I am not well,” Rogers told the pastor, and described what he had done, according to the FBI statement.
An FBI examination of one of Rogers’ phones revealed various internet searches likely to produce suggestive photos and videos of young girls, according to the FBI statement. Some searches used the initials ‘jb,’ for jail bait, according to the court complaint. Agents also found a video that suggested someone attempted to use the phone to peer up a woman’s skirt, done likely at the McKinley Mall in Hamburg, but the attempt was unsuccessful, Garver wrote.