Editor’s note: This article has been updated throughout.
A former Van Alstyne youth pastor accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 2015 and 2016 pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to some of the charges he faced in the 397th state district court.
Timothy Urban, 52, faced six felony sex charges, including sexual assault of a child and inducing sexual performance by a child, after investigators say he repeatedly engaged in sex acts with a 16-year-old girl who attended the First United Methodist Church in Van Alstyne, where he served as the church’s youth director.
He pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual performance of a child. As part of the plea agreement, the state dropped the remaining charges before Judge Brian Gary sentenced Urban.
He now faces 12 years in prison. Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith said Urban must serve six years in prison before he becomes eligible for parole and the plea agreement requires he register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Urban was represented at the plea hearing by Sherman attorney Bob Jarvis. The state was represented by Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Donnie Carter.
The girl Urban abused was in court Wednesday when he made the plea and she addressed him when it was over to give a victim impact statement.
“You broke me down everyday for four years,” she said to Urban, adding what he did to her ruined relationships for her including those with some family members and with God.
She said she has taken steps to make the repairs needed and is looking forward to moving on without Urban’s actions hanging over her. She said Wednesday represented a change for her from Urban’s victim to a survivor.
She also said what he did to her hurt not only her, but other members of the church and his own family. In the end, she said she was really happy to be able to say “goodbye” to him forever.
Urban was arrested in August after authorities were contacted by the victim and investigators compiled hundreds of text messages and videos which detailed her exchanges with the youth director. The messages included photos of Urban’s genitals and videos which showed him masturbating. Urban apologized to the teen in text messages sent after the investigation began, and said he never meant to hurt her. The victim told authorities the sex acts were usually performed in a vehicle or at the church.
Smith said the plea agreement allows the community in Van Alstyne and at the church to put this behind them and start moving forward.
“This has been a difficult process for her,” Smith said of the teen. “It has been a difficult process for the community in Van Alstyne. I think the community in Van Alstyne and as well the church in Van Alstyne are ready to move on.”
A statement that Smith sent out after the plea said the girl came forward because she feared Urban might prey on other vulnerable teens if she didn’t. She had recently lost her father when Urban entered her life and tried to assume a father figure role. He then began making sexually suggestive comments, the statement said. Soon after that, he began exchanging sexually graphic texts with the teen. Then the two were involved in encounters in which Urban abused the girl, some of which happened at the church.
“Anytime an adult in a position of authority takes advantage of young children it erodes the community’s trust in our institutions,” Carter said in the release. “Hopefully, this sentence will send a message it will not be tolerated.”
Jarvis said his client “is extremely remorseful about what he did. He didn’t want to hurt her anymore.”
Smith said he is proud of the work done by his office, the Van Alstyne Police Department and the Texas Rangers, on the case.