EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – A former local pastor received his sentence Monday after being picked up in an undercover sex sting last year.
Aaron Newell, 49, of Youngstown, reached a plea deal with prosecutors. According to court records, he will serve no jail time but will be on probation for two years. He was also ordered to perform community service and take a 12-hour education course as part of the terms of his probation.
Newell had pleaded no contest and was found guilty of charges of engaging in prostitution and possessing criminal tools.
East Palestine police and members of the Human Trafficking Task Force arrested Newell in February of 2022.
Investigators say he responded to an online advertisement for prostitution, arranging to meet an undercover officer at a specific location, where he was arrested.
Police said Newell was the pastor at Niles Christian Assembly when he was arrested. Newell’s credentials at the church were suspended following his arrest so he is no longer a pastor there, according to Vince Stigliano, of Niles Christian Assembly.
“We believe in forgiveness and we believe in restoration so we’re praying for him and his family,” Stigliano said in a voicemail to WKBN on Tuesday.