Former #youth pastor accused of #child sexual assault in #Bellevue is released on #bail

An Omaha youth pastor contacted a teenage boy to set up a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old girl, prosecutors said.

Sarpy County prosecutors allege that Klint Bitter, employed at the time as a pastor at Christ Community Church in Omaha, assaulted the child in February in Bellevue. He was booked at the Sarpy County Jail on Tuesday on a warrant charging him with felony first-degree sexual assault of a child.

Bitter, 34, of Omaha, appeared in Sarpy County Court on Wednesday morning and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Judge Robert Wester set Bitter’s bail at $1 million and ordered Bitter not to have contact with anyone 18 years or younger. He was released later Wednesday after posting 10 percent of that bail, $100,000.

Sarpy County Deputy Attorney Phil Kleine told the judge that Bitter contacted DeArch Stubblefield, then 18, to set up a meeting with the girl. Bitter’s attorney said he was responding to a Craigslist ad. A criminal complaint said the offense took place near the intersection of Fort Crook and Childs Roads on Feb. 27.

That same day, Bellevue police said they began an investigation into a report of possible human trafficking, which led to the March arrest of Stubblefield.

In asking for a high bail, Kleine compared Bitter’s case to co-defendants Stubblefield and Jason Gibson, who was charged March 9 with the same offense as Bitter. Stubblefield was initially held on no bail and Gibson was held on $2 million bail.

Gibson, 41, later pleaded no contest to attempted first-degree sexual assault of a child. He will be sentenced next month and faces up to 50 years in prison.

And on Wednesday, Stubblefield pleaded guilty to attempted human trafficking, attempted aiding and abetting first-degree sexual assault of a child, and possession of child pornography. Prosecutors dropped an additional charge of child abuse. He faces a maximum of 72 years when sentenced in December.

Thomas Petersen, Bitter’s attorney, asked Wednesday for a $150,000 bail amount. He told the judge that Bitter emailed after seeing the Craigslist ad to ask if the girl was 18.

Kleine said he hasn’t seen those alleged emails.