Church worker pleads guilty

Published 7:59 pm Monday, February 27, 2012

A former church employee pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent liberties with a minor during a court appearance Monday.

Elizabeth Lee Beckett, 23, entered guilty pleas to one count of indecent liberties with a minor and four counts of indecent liberties with a minor in a custodial or supervisory relationship. The charges stemmed from her abuse of a teenage boy between the ages of 13 and 16 from 2009 to 2011.

Three similar charges were not prosecuted as part of a plea deal.

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According to prosecutor Nicole Belote, Beckett and the victim’s family first met when they all lived in Iowa and attended church together. That’s when Beckett began babysitting for the family.

The victim’s family later moved to Virginia, and Beckett began going to college in Florida. However, she was unhappy there and moved to Virginia, where she wound up staying with the family beginning in July 2009.

The woman took a position at Bethel Temple Assembly of God in Hampton.

At one point, the woman brought some movies home and asked the victim to cuddle, Belote said.

“She said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with them cuddling because they’re like brother and sister,’” Belote said.

The incidents got progressively more involved through 2011, Belote said. The two started kissing, and she would take her bra off and ask him to touch her breast. They also began touching each other’s genitals, and she would perform oral sex on him, Belote said.

“At the beginning, when all of this first started, the defendant was telling the victim everything was OK,” Belote said. It progressed to blaming the victim for allowing it to happen, she said.

The victim eventually told his father about the abuse by text message in October 2011. At his father’s suggestion, the teen told Beckett he had decided to tell his father, and she asked him to give her a week to resign from her position at the church, Belote said.

When the father confronted Beckett, she admitted to the abuse but said it happened only four to five times. The teen, however, was prepared to testify the fondling happened at least 100 times and oral sex happened about 25 times.

She will be sentenced on May 18.