The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 1:00 am

Area pastor facing 4 counts of molesting

3 victims under 14; 1st allegedly in '06

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

A 67-year-old pastor has been charged with four counts of child molesting for incidents allegedly tied to events at his church.

Steven Fered Ardhuerumly of LaOtto was booked Aug. 16 at Whitley County Jail and released the same day on a $200,000 bond, according to the Whitley County Sheriff's Department.

The incidents date between 2006 and 2021, according to law enforcement officials, who indicated the three victims were younger than 14.

One of the victims said she attended a church event and asked her mother if she could spend the night at another home, court documents said.

That night she woke up between 1 and 3 a.m. to find Ardhuerumly performing a sex act on her. Ardhuerumly told her they were “playing house and it had just gone too far.” The pastor also told her that what occurred was “their little secret and left the room,” court documents stated.

Ardhuerumly used that line on the two other victims, all of whom were interviewed over three days in late June, officials said. One of the victims said she was 8 or 9 when the molesting occurred.

One of the victims said she was worried for her cousins “because she knew one of them was also a victim,” court records said.

Court documents prepared by Detective A. Mills with the Indiana State Police stated an adult confronted Ardhuerumly about the accusations and Ardhuerumly admitted to “what had happened with several of the girls.” A woman said she was worried “because she knew this was going to cause some family issues as they are a close family.”

In one interview, a victim said that even though the molesting occurred a number of years ago, she is “working through what had happened” and that she was a minor when it happened.

One victim said she and her family lived with Ardhuerumly a few months. At that time, they played school with her sister and others. “Steve” was kind of flirty and locked her in a room and wanted her to touch him, court documents said.

When they went to the store and she would ask for things, Ardhuerumly would ask “what was in it for him,” the victim said.

At some point, according to the heavily redacted court documents, Ardhuerumly denied the incidents. When Mills attempted to contact Ardhuerumly on June 18 he had no luck, court documents said.

Mills then received a call from Ardhuerumly stating he had an attorney and did not want to make a statement.

Court documents said Ardhuerumly was a pastor but did not name his church. An article published in February 2006 indicated he had been named the new pastor at Calvary Chapel Fellowship Center in Auburn.

Ardhuerumly's name did not appear on the church's website Tuesday, and a phone call to the chapel was not answered.

Ardhuerumly appeared in court Monday. No additional court dates were scheduled as of Tuesday.

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