EXCLUSIVE: Family says former San Jose youth pastor charged with sex crimes is 'absolutely innocent'

J.R. Stone Image
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
EXCLUSIVE: Family defends ex-SJ youth pastor charged with sex crimes
A former San Jose youth pastor's wife and son are coming to his defense after he was charged with multiple sex crimes against a minor under the age of 14.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A former San Jose youth pastor faces multiple sex crime charges but his family is now coming to his defense.

Brett Bymaster was arrested on April 11, but the former San Jose youth pastor is still in jail. Bymaster is charged with multiple sex crimes against a minor under the age of 14.

"I'm shocked because again they always were bible-base talkers," said neighbor Dan Gonzales who is reacting to court documents. These documents charge Bymaster with six counts of a Lewd or Lascivious act on a child by force, violence, duress menace and fear.

Bymaster was a former youth pastor at River Church Community. He also founded the Healing Grove Health Center. His wife came to his defense speaking with ABC7 News Reporter J.R. Stone spoke with her Monday night.

"Brett is a kind and honest man who has dedicated his life to helping others," said Angela Bymaster. "This outrageous accusation against my husband are penitently false. He is absolutely innocent. I have faith that the truth will ultimately prevail."

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An East Bay pastor is under arrest, charged with several counts of kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of 14.

One of Bymaster's sons Matthew, adopted from Sudan 16 years ago, is also defending his father. Saying people are coming after him because of the good work his father does for the poor.

"They're having their own company right now and people getting mad at them because they are doing their own good for the community," said Matthew Gatkuch.

San Jose police say the now adult female was sexually assaulted multiple times by Bymaster from the age of 8 to the age of 13 and between the years of 2014 and 2018. Previous allegations also surfaced about Bymaster a few years ago but no charges were filed until now.

"A man cannot go and adopt a black kid like us you know, so he didn't do nothing wrong," said Gatkuch. "People are lying to ruin his career because he is winning and he is a Christian guy."

J.R. Stone: "But for someone to say that you were abused sexually from the age of 8 to 13 that's a big allegation."

Matthew Gatkuch: "That's a big allegation but they're lying 'cause he is a youth pastor helping everybody."

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Neighbors though are concerned.

"He portrayed himself as a good Christian man," said Gonzales.

Officers are asking anyone who might have additional information in this case to come forward.

San Jose Police released this statement:

In January of 2024, Detectives from the San Jose Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC)/Child Exploitation Detail (CED) Task Force began an investigation into a report of a sexual assault of a minor that began in 2014.

During the course of the investigation, an adult female survivor disclosed that an adult male suspect sexually assaulted her multiple times between 2014 and 2018 when she was a minor. Detectives identified the suspect as Brett Bymaster. Suspect Bymaster was a youth pastor at the River Church Community during the time of the incident. He was also volunteering at afterschool programs outside of the church.

On April 11, 2024, Detectives located and arrested suspect Bymaster in the city of Manteca. The suspect was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail for sexual assault of a minor.

Anyone with information about this case or similar cases is asked to contact Detective Camarillo #4576 of the San José Police Department Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force via email: 4576@sanjoseca.gov or 408-273-2959.

Submit crime tips and remain anonymous by using the P3TIPS mobile app, calling the tip line at (408) 947-STOP, or on www.siliconvalleycrimestoppers.org. If the information you submit leads to an arrest, you are eligible for a cash reward from the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers Program.

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