Bail for a youth pastor accused of sexually assaulting two teens was reduced to $500,000, down from the $2 million originally keeping him behind bars.

During a hearing last Wednesday, prosecutor Paula Waldman argued Louis Bristol was a threat to public safety. Bristol faces three counts of forcible rape, two counts of forced sexual penetration by a foreign object, and a count of sexual battery by restraint.

Louis Bristol

Waldman, in court documents, said that in addition to the alleged crimes involving two minor females Bristol knew through Carpinteria Community Church where he worked as a youth pastor, Bristol was also allegedly sending to another woman unwanted videos of himself masturbating. The woman told authorities he texted her “about not being sexually satisfied by his wife and needing to look elsewhere for sex,” Waldman said in court documents. She said she was considering adding a charge for the video.

Another woman told Detective Chris Corbett it was her opinion Bristol was addicted to sex. And yet another female said she ultimately quit her job at the Holiday Inn Express where they both worked because of “relentless sexual harassment.” The allegations, Waldman said, showed a behavior threatening to the public.

Bristol’s attorney, Larry Powell, told Judge Clifford Anderson he thought lowering the bail was appropriate. He said some of the ancillary incidents were fairly old, and that some of Bristol’s actions, while they may not have been wanted, were not necessarily dangerous. “I don’t think he’s a threat to the community,” Powell said.

The victims in the case were in contact with Bristol before, during, and after the incidents, Powell noted, and the communications “were of a friendly nature.”

Bristol, 28, was arrested in February after authorities learned he allegedly sent two girls inappropriate text messages and had sex with them at the hotel where he was employed as a manager.

If Bristol does bail out, he is not allowed at the church, the hotel, or in Carpinteria. He can have no contact with the victims, or minors. As of Monday morning, he had not been bailed out, Powell said. If he is released from jail, his family has already tracked down several potential locations in Santa Barbara or Goleta where he could live.

Bristol will be back in court May 2.


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