Ex youth pastor faces multiple charges of pornography and child sexual abuse, SNAP calls for church outreach

Mark William Heotzler was a youth pastor at Grace Chapel Community Church in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, from May 2014 to April of 2019. He is accused of a total of 53child sex crimes from between 2015 and 2021, including making sexual advances towards minors and sending inappropriate images by text and through social media to individuals under the age of 18. The criminal complaint alleges that Heotlzler made sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy. The former youth pastor is already a registered sex offender in Pennsylvania, following a guilty plea on March 4 to unlawful obscene contact with a minor. He is currently in jail on that charge.

We know that child abusers tend to seek out positions of authority that put them near potential victims. The fact that Heotzler worked for so long as a youth pastor, giving him direct access to children, is a cause for serious concern. These charges are grave, so we urge church officials and members to use all the resources at their disposal to ensure that no other boys or girls were victimized and that everyone who was a part of the parish community during that time is notified of the charges. We consider that their moral duty.

We also hope that anyone with knowledge or suspicions of Heotzler’s crimes will speak out now and call Pennsylvania State Police in Mercer County at 724-662-6162.

CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected]

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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