Odessa Pastors Arrested, Allegedly Hid Child Abuse from Police - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Odessa Pastors Arrested, Allegedly Hid Child Abuse from Police

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By: Julia Deng
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Don and Gina Haislett, the pastor and co-pastor of Life Church in Odessa, were arrested Tuesday and charged with failure to report child abuse, a Class A Misdemeanor.

Court documents obtained by NewsWest 9 reveal the married couple knew one of their volunteer youth ministers, Angel De Los Santos, was sexually assaulting multiple underage girls from the church and did not notify authorities within the mandated 48-hour period.

According to arrest affidavits, Gina Haislett sent a text message to the minister's then-wife, telling her she "should not volunteer any information" when questioned by Odessa Police Department detectives.

Don and Gina Haislett could not be reached for an interview. Life Church had no comment.

According to Odessa Police, the Haisletts conducted their own investigation into a sexual relationship he had with one victim and inappropriate text messages he allegedly sent others.

The pastors did this for three weeks without contacting officials, even after they removed De Los Santos from his youth minister duties.

"This goes on more than people realize," said Cpl. Steve LeSueur, the Odessa Police spokesman.

"And it doesn't just involve churches. It involves day cares [and] schools. If anyone is aware that there is child abuse taking place, they need to report it immediately to police. It's a crime if you don't report child abuse. It's a crime if you don't report a felony"

De Los Santos was arrested in September and charged with six counts of sexually assaulting a child, a second degree felony.

"Investigation revealed [Angel De Los Santos] had been having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl," said LeSueur.

"They were having sex once a week for a two and a half year period, which began when she was fourteen."

De Los Santos pleaded guilty and received a 20-year sentence.

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