Former Christian Aid Ministries worker Jeriah Mast of Millersburg, Ohio, was sentenced to nine years in prison on Nov. 5 for sexually abusing two boys in Holmes County.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Holmes County Judge Robert D. Rinfret said during sentencing that Mast’s confession to abusing more than 30 boys in Haiti as a mission worker with CAM influenced his sentence.
In a plea agreement, the defense and prosecution had recommended a prison sentence of no more than five years.
Mast was charged in July with 14 counts alleging abuse of five minors between 1999 and 2008. Twelve counts were dismissed in a plea agreement because the victims’ ages at the time made the charges misdemeanors outside the statute of limitations. Mast has not been charged in Haiti, where investigations continue.
The Daily Record of Wooster, Ohio, reported a 32-year-old man who was abused by Mast when he was 11 or 12 spoke during the hearing about first meeting Mast when his family joined the church where Mast’s father was pastor.
“Mast fully understood the culture that he lived and operated in,” the man said. “He knew and knows exactly what to say and do to control the perception of those around him. He not only manipulated the children that he victimized but also the church system.”
CAM, a relief agency supported by conservative Anabaptists, placed two leaders on administrative leave June 17 after it was revealed they knew of sexual abuse allegations concerning Mast as early as 2013.