Sunday, October 23 , 2016, 11:32 am | A Few Clouds 67º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube

Local News

Judge Lowers Bail for Pastor Accused of Molestation, Rape

Louis Joseph Bristol
Louis Joseph Bristol

Bail was reduced Wednesday for a Carpinteria youth pastor accused of raping and molesting two underage girls.

Louis Joseph Bristol, 28, worked as a youth pastor at the Carpinteria Community Church and as an assistant manager at the Holiday Inn, and he is accused of using his positions at both places to commit crimes against the two girls, according to authorities.

He was booked into County Jail on Feb. 28 by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, with bail set at $2 million bail.

His attorney, Larry Powell, asked Superior Court Judge Clifford Anderson to reduce the bail during a hearing Wednesday.

Bristol – who allegedly sent both girls inappropriate text messages and photos – has no criminal record, and has lived in Carpinteria for more than 20 years, so is not a flight risk, Powell argued.

He is married and would move to Goleta with his wife and not have any contact with the church or the Holiday Inn, Inn, Powell said.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Paula Waldman argued that the court’s primary concern is public safety and that Bristol misused his power as a youth pastor.

He sexually harasses people, and “he’s the kind of person who can’t control himself,” she said.

Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover has said the alleged crimes occurred between late 2012 and early 2013 in vacant rooms at the hotel where Bristol worked.

Powell argued that there isn’t a public safety risk since no new, current victims came forward during law enforcement’s investigations.

Some women came forward who knew Bristol in the past, but “whether or not the allegations are true, they’re very old,” he argued.

Bristol will live in Goleta with his wife and seek employment elsewhere, since neither the church nor the Holiday Inn will let him back for liability reasons, he said.

Bristol’s parents, the parents of the victims and a pastor from the Carpinteria Community Church attended Wednesday’s hearing.

Anderson agreed to reduce Bristol’s bail to $500,000.

Even though the man has no priors, the pending charges are extremely serious, Anderson said.

If he gets out on bail, he will be subject to search and seizure, electronic monitoring, surrendering his passport, staying away from Carpinteria, the church and the Holiday Inn, and is to have no direct or indirect contact with the victims or witnesses, Anderson ordered.

“If you see them, you should be running the other direction as fast as you can,” he told Bristol.

The preliminary hearing in the case, to determine if there is enough evidence to merit a trial, is scheduled for May.

The Carpinteria Community Church released a brief statement after Bristol’s arrest saying its policy is to immediately report all allegations to authorities, as church officials did in this case.

“Our hearts go out to all of those affected by this situation,” the church said. “We will be keeping them in prayer and invite the community to do so as well throughout this process.”

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >