Executive director of Oregon church camp program facing child po - KPTV - FOX 12

Executive director of Oregon church camp program facing child porn charges

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James Parkhurst, jail booking photo James Parkhurst, jail booking photo
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The executive director of the camp and retreat ministries program for the Oregon-Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church is accused of producing child pornography.

According to federal court documents, James Parkhurst, 56, is facing the charge of production of child pornography in Colorado.

He is currently in the Multnomah County Jail awaiting extradition to Colorado.

The church sent letters to church leaders and church members regarding Parkhurst's arrest Tuesday, saying the charges do not stem from any criminal activity related to his work for the church or in the state of Oregon.

The letters state Parkhurst, who has been placed on administrative leave, was hired in April 2015 after a nationwide search. He previously served in a similar role with the church in Detroit.

The Oregon-Idaho Conference performed a criminal background check at the time he was hired. Checks are also performed annually.

Parkhurst was not an onsite staff member at any of the church's camp facilities and did not have regular contact with children, according to a church spokesman. He would be at camping sites at times, but he was not alone with campers.

His duties are described as mainly administrative.

"Parkhurst oversees the staff and operation of the conference's six campsites; in that role he does not interface with campers on a regular basis. Each camp facility is supervised by an onsite director who leads staff and oversees onsite program and usage.

Safety of campers is the highest priority of the Camp and Retreat Ministry program. Policies and guidelines are in place to assure that camp experiences are places of physical and emotional safety for all involved. All camp directors, staff and volunteers routinely undergo background checks," according to a letter from the church.

Parkhurst is a deacon in the United Methodist Church, according to a biography on the church's website, and has served as site director at several United Methodist camps.

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