Gabriel E. Carlin

A pastor was jailed after St. George police said he molested an 11-year-old student at a Christian school where he was a teacher.

Gabriel E. Carlin, 32, St. George, was booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility Tuesday night for investigation of four counts of sexual abuse of a minor, a first-degree felony.

Police said they asked prosecutors to enhance the charges because Carlin was in a position of trust over the victim.

Carlin taught at the East Harbor Christian Academy in Washington, Washington County, where the victim attended school, St. George Police Sgt. Craig Harding said. The reported abuse began nearly a month ago, investigators said.

"He offered a ride home to the young lady," Harding said Wednesday. "She initially resisted, but he pushed a little bit and drove her home. He said he wanted to see her room, she said it was dirty."

Harding said Carlin persisted, eventually talking the girl into letting him into her room. No one else was home at the time, police said.

"There was touching, he fondled her and kissed her. She was uncomfortable and made excuses that she had chores to do and he left," Harding said. The girl reported the alleged abuse March 9 to her parents, who called police. Detectives brought Carlin to the police station for questioning Tuesday night and arrested him there.

Washington City police said it may not have been the first encounter between Carlin and the girl.

Lt. Ed Kantor said there may have been two instances when the girl was molested while at Harbor Kids Child Care, which an employee said is affiliated with the school. State records show Carlin as a part owner of the day-care facility.

Attempts to reach officials with the East Harbor Christian Academy were unsuccessful Wednesday. Telephone numbers listed for the school were disconnected. On his Web site, Carlin refers to himself as "Pastor Gabe" and said he is the senior pastor of Living Faith Community Church in St. George. He said he and his wife operate a "classical Christian school."

Telephone calls to Carlin's St. George home were not returned Wednesday.

The school is not accredited by the state of Utah or Northwest Accrediting, said Carol Lear with the State Office of Education. State Department of Commerce records show Carlin obtained a business license for the East Harbor Christian Academy in 2003, but two years later it lapsed and was not renewed.

The Utah Department of Health said it started reviewing the licensing of the Harbor Kids Child Care center after hearing of Carlin's arrest, spokesman Cody Craynor said. Craynor said licensing officials could revoke the center's license or ban Carlin from being in the facility.

Washington City police are also investigating the academy as part of its probe to determine if there are other victims.


E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com