A Carpinteria youth pastor pleaded guilty Thursday morning to committing sexual acts on two underage girls in the hotel where he also worked as an assistant manager. Louis Bristol, 28, will be sentenced next month to one year in Santa Barbara County Jail and five years of felony probation. He’ll also be required to register as a sex offender during his probation term but can petition to be removed from the registry at the end of the five years.
Bristol had originally pleaded not guilty to six felony counts when he was arrested in February of this year — including forcible rape, forced sexual penetration by a foreign object, and sexual battery by restraint — and faced a maximum of 20 years in prison. But this week, he changed his plea and admitted his guilt, explained Senior Deputy DA Paula Waldman, to committing a lewd act upon a 14-year-old, having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old, giving marijuana to minors, and sending video of himself masturbating to a third adult victim.
The woman told authorities Bristol texted her “about not being sexually satisfied by his wife and needing to look elsewhere for sex,” Waldman said in court documents. Another woman told detectives she thought he was addicted to sex. Bristol — who had no prior arrests — met the victims through Carpinteria Community Church, where he worked as a high school youth pastor, Waldman said. The incident involving the two teens took place in an empty room at the Holiday Inn Express, she explained. Calls to Bristol’s lawyer, Larry Powell, were not immediately returned.
As part of his plea deal, Bristol agreed to abide by a number of terms and conditions that, if broken, would send him to state prison for four years. He also agreed to give up the credit he received for time served — he’s been behind bars since his arrest — and is not eligible for electronic monitoring. Once he’s sentenced, Bristol must stay 500 yards away from the victims and their families, stay away from and not live in the City of Carpinteria, not use drugs or alcohol and submit to random chemical tests, not “initiate/establish or maintain any contact with females or males under the age of 18,” not work or volunteer with minors, and attend one Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting per week.
Waldman said the victims and their families are satisfied with the case’s resolution. “There’s a certain sense of relief around this,” she said. Bristol will be sentenced by Judge Clifford Anderson on September 12, during which time the victims will read statements to the court.