Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 12, 2013

Former Bluefield church youth volunteer arrested on 38 counts of child sexual abuse

By Samantha Perry
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — A former church youth volunteer was arrested Thursday afternoon on 38 counts of child sexual abuse related charges.

Timothy Probert, 55, of Bluefield, was taken into custody by Sgt. M.D. Clemons, with the Crimes Against Children Unit of the West Virginia State Police. The alleged crimes stem from incidents that occurred when Probert was a youth volunteer at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Bluefield.

Probert is charged with 22 counts of sexual abuse by a custodian; six counts of first-degree sexual abuse; seven counts of third-degree sexual assault; one count of distribution and display of obscene matter to a minor; one count of use of obscene matter with intent to seduce a minor; and one count of use of a minor to produce obscene matter or to assist in doing sexually explicit conduct.

Clemons said the abuse charges stem from incidents that date back to 1986. The last incident occurred between July 2008 and 2010.

The alleged victims were all male and ranged in age from 12 to 17, she said.

Probert was arraigned Thursday afternoon on the charges before Mercer County Magistrate Jim Dent.

“Nothing that I have now indicates there was any abuse at the church, however some occurred on mission trips and at the individual’s home,” Clemons said.

Jonathan Rockness, pastor of the church, said in an earlier report that Probert is not on the church staff, nor has he ever been employed by Westminster.

“However, through the years he has volunteered in various capacities for the church, including with youth trips that required chaperones,” Rockness said.

“We have been fully cooperative with the authorities and will continue to be, as we are committed to uncovering the truth and seeing justice met,” Rockness said previously. “We also hope and pray for healing and wholeness for any potential victims in this situation. We are devastated for them and their families.”  

Clemons said Probert also served as a WE CAN (Working to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect) volunteer during the 1990s. Three of the victims Probert was mentoring through WE CAN.