On Monday, June 7, 2021, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested 29-year-old Andrew Pierce Weaver of Lakeland, the youth pastor of Highlands Church of Christ in Lakeland, for attempting to have sex with a minor.
On June 3, 2021, Highlands Church of Christ staff contacted PCSO detectives to report that Weaver may have been engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl in his youth group. The alleged contact occurred for approximately five months between September of 2020 and January of 2021.
During an interview, the victim told detectives that Weaver had been giving her informal guidance. She told detectives that she told Weaver that she was having sexual fantasies and at one point Weaver asked her if any of the fantasies had involved him. She said she told him she did have sexual fantasies about him.
The following is an excerpt from the affidavit describing what the 17-year-old victim told detectives, and is self-explanatory:
The VICTIM disclosed she showed Weaver naked pictures of herself on her cell phone device, and Weaver would frequently ask to see these pictures, but insisted she never transmit them to him electronically. The VICTIM believed he requested this to avoid getting in trouble, as he also requested she keep their relationship secret.
The VICTIM also disclosed on a non-specific date in late December or early January she and Weaver went to the Best Western Hotel in Mulberry, FL. The VICTIM disclosed she drove to the Highlands Church of Christ and met Weaver there. The VICTIM then got into Weaver’s vehicle and he asked her how she felt about getting a hotel room for the two of them.
Weaver then drove himself and the VICTIM to the hotel. She and Weaver were at the hotel for approximately 30 minutes and were naked from the waist up in their room. The VICTIM disclosed she and Weaver were making out, and Weaver touched and kissed the bare area of her breasts. The VICTIM advised she and Weaver were interrupted by a maid knocking on the door, but the maid did not enter the room. The VICTIM disclosed this startled Weaver, and they both put on their clothes and returned to the church. The VICTIM advised she believed their sexual contact would have continued to progress if they had not been interrupted by the maid.
During an interview on June 7th, Weaver confirmed he took the victim to the hotel in Mulberry after the two had been discussing sexual fantasies. According to the affidavit:
Weaver advised he believed he had “crossed a line” with the VICTIM, which he further explained that he was closer to the VICTIM emotionally than he should have been. Weaver subsequently confessed to driving around with the VICTIM on the day of 12/29/20, and discussing more of the VICTIM’s sexual fantasies. Weaver stated he struggles with impulse control and then drove himself and the VICTIM to the Best Western Hotel in Mulberry, FL after discussing the VICTIM’s sexual fantasies. Records were obtained from the Best Western Hotel, which confirmed Weaver checked into the hotel on 12/29/20 at approximately 13:13 hours.
“Youth ministers are entrusted with mentoring our children. This minister betrayed that trust and he must be held accountable. Thankfully, the church leadership did the right thing by reporting his inappropriate behavior.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff Weaver was arrested for Attempted Unlawful Sex with a Minor (F3) and Interference with Child Custody (F3) due to Weaver taking the child from the church and to the hotel with the intent to have sex with her. He is currently in the Polk County jail and has no bond. Weaver told detectives he is married.