Church youth leader charged with statutory rape

SMITHFIELD, North Carolina -- A North Carolina church youth coordinator is accused of raping an underage church member at a Clayton elementary school parking lot.

Michael Todd Jansco, 24, has been charged with statutory rape.

Authorities says a deputy doing a routine building check at River Dell Elementary School on Buffalo Road noticed a suspicious SUV parked between the bus area and cafeteria about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

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When the deputy approached, he allegedly found Jansco naked under a blanket and the minor was also undressed.

Investigators said Jansco told them he was 18, but a records check proved otherwise. Jansco admitted he picked up the teen from her home and said he met her at church.

Both attend Elizabeth United Methodist Church on Cleveland Road outside of Smithfield.

Authorities say the two met during a youth pilgrimage.

"That's insane," said one church member who wants to remain anonymous. "You expect your youth coordinator to be held to a higher standard than anybody else."

Pastor Jesse Staton says he is disappointed and told ABC11 that several security steps were taken before Jansco was allowed to work with children.

Staton says there was a full background check and Jansco was extensively trained to provide a safe sanctuary.

"We take our responsibility very, very seriously. We want everybody to have a sense of safety here," Staton said.

The pastor says Jansco will be removed from the staff.

He is being held at the Johnston County Jail on a $50,000 secured bond.

With information from Mickey Lamm/The Johnston County Report

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