Northern Colorado pastor arrested on suspicion of unlawful sexual contact
WELD COUNTY — A Gilcrest pastor has been placed on leave following his arrest last week on suspicion of unlawful sexual contact.
Paul Wakefield, 62, is a pastor at Gilcrest Baptist Church. He was arrested last Thursday, Jan. 3 following an investigation by the Windsor Police Department. In addition to unlawful sexual contact, a misdemeanor, Wakefield also was booked into the Weld County Jail on suspicion of committing a crime against an at-risk person, a felony.
The charges stem from Jan. 3, when a nurse at an assisted living facility in Windsor noticed the door to one of her patient’s rooms was closed. The name of the patient and the facility are being withheld because The Tribune does not identify victims of sexual assault.
The nurse later told police she doesn’t like it when her patient’s doors are closed because it makes it harder for her to check on them. The nurse entered the patient’s room and found Wakefield kneeling in front of the woman with his hands up her shirt and his head on her chest, according to the affidavit for his arrest.
Wakefield immediately stood up and told the nurse he was listening to the woman’s heart, according to court records. The nurse told a supervisor who immediately called 911.
Windsor police conducted a number of interviews, including with the woman’s son. He told police during the last two months he twice walked in on Wakefield with his head on his mother’s chest. On one of those occasions, Wakefield also had his right hand under his mother’s shirt, according to court records.
A nurse told police the woman has cognitive communication deficit, which can cause difficulties with thinking and language use. The nurse also said the woman has problems with her memory.
Wakefield later met with officers at the Windsor Police Department. He told police while visiting with the woman, she said she had fallen and hurt her ribs, according to court records. Wakefield said his hands were under the woman’s shirt because he was examining her ribs.
When asked by police if he touched the woman’s breasts, Wakefield said he thought that was implied, adding he had to touch them to examine her ribs. Wakefield also said he touched the woman’s breasts in order to listen to her heart, according to court records.
When asked if he received any gratification, Wakefield said, “I’m a guy, I did feel gratification,” according to court records. Later in the interview, Wakefield told police he didn’t like the word “gratification” because he thought he had permission from the woman to touch her breasts.
Alex Schneider, a deacon with the Gilcrest Baptist Church, said Wakefield was immediately removed from his leadership role and placed on leave as soon as other church leaders learned about his arrest. Church leadership have not received many details about the case, Schneider said, and Wakefield will remain on leave until more information is made available.
“In the meantime, the church is continuing to strive ahead,” Deacon Schneider said. “We are led by Christ, not by one man, and we’re continuing on with our own leadership.”
Wakefield is out on bond, according to Weld County Jail records. The deadline for the filing of formal charges by the Weld District Attorney’s Office is Monday.