YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Bond was set Tuesday at $50,000 for a former youth pastor charged with several sex crimes.

Mark Cuprik, 22, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court before Magistrate Nicole Alexander to charges of pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor, pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor or impaired person, two counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, importuning and gross sexual imposition.

Cuprik, a former youth pastor at the Boardman campus of Victory Christian Center, has been in the county jail since he turned himself in Friday, a day after he was indicted by a grand jury.

Cuprik can be released if he can post 10% of his bond. The bond was agreed upon by prosecutors and defense attorney Rob Yarwood and Magistrate Alexander adopted the recommendation.

As part of his bond, Cuprik is barred from having contact with the two alleged victims, who were juveniles at the time of the alleged offense.

A trial date of Jan. 3 has been set before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum.

The charges stem from an investigation that began March 21 in Beaver Township, after Cuprik was involved in a chase that started after the family of the alleged victims in the case confronted him.

During the chase, a female juvenile that was in Cuprik’s car was dropped off at Beaver Township Park.
The chase led to an investigation that involved interviews with leaders at the church as well as the victim’s family.

In a statement last week, the church said Cuprik was immediately removed from his post in January after allegations of misconduct first surfaced and that the church has been cooperating with authorities.

The indictment in the case alleges illegal activity from 2017 to 2020.