MERCER, Pa. (WKBN) – A former youth pastor who once worked in Mercer County received his sentence for sex crimes.
Mark Heotzler, of Chambersburg, Pa., will spend seven-and-a-half to 15 years in prison following sentencing last week in Mercer County Court of Common Pleas. He was also sentenced to 10 years of probation following his release, according to the court.
Heotzler had been convicted of several child pornography-related charges, as well as sex assault.
According to a criminal complaint, Heotzler was accused of sexually abusing at least 11 victims under 18 from 2015 through 2021, at various locations in Jefferson Township.
He served as a youth pastor at Grace Chapel Community Church in Hermitage for five years, from 2014 to 2019.
Investigators say Heotzler engaged in sexual activity with the victims, exchanged nude photos of himself in various sexual circumstances and requested nude photos from some of the victims
The investigation into Heotzler’s behavior began in January 2021.
Investigators say Heotzler admitted to many of the accusations and said the behavior was due to his “sexual desire,” according to the criminal complaint.
According to a post on the Grace Chapel Community Church website from April 2019, Heotzler left his position there to take a position at a church in south-central Pennsylvania.