A youth pastor in New Hampshire killed himself just two days after being fired from his church due to "credible allegations" of sexually assaulting children under his care. Jarrett Booker, 37, had been the Pastor of Worship and Youth Ministry at Nashua Baptist Church for close to ten years when his alleged victims came forward last month.
Booker, who was adopted at 18 months and raised in Virginia - before attending Liberty University, was fired by the Nashua Baptist Church on November 25 after the church learned of an investigation into sexual abuse allegations against the pastor. On November 27, two days after his termination, Booker took his own life.
Suicide Out of Shame
Booker's suicide has taken many by shock despite the serious allegations labeled against him. "Regrettably, on the evening of November 27, Jarrett Booker took his own life, refusing to face the consequences of his actions," the church's elders and deacons said in a statement.
"This event has added immeasurably to the complexity and pain of the situation."
Officials at Nashua Baptist Church said that they learned of a criminal investigation into the alleged sexual assault only five days before Booker's suicide.
The pastor had recently celebrated his 11th wedding anniversary with his wife, Rachel. The couple shared a son named Eddie.
In a Facebook post, Rachel Booker, Jarrett Booker's wife, wrote that the past two weeks have been an emotional whirlwind for her.
She conveyed gratitude for the prayers and words of encouragement, mentioning that she and her son Eddie are now navigating life as a team of two.
"Sin is dark, and it destroys. We hate it, we are grieved by it, and we continue to pray for all of those who have been hurt. JB had his demons, I won't pretend that he didn't. His choices caused harm," she wrote in the touching post.
Nashua Baptist Church issued a statement addressing its rationale behind terminating Booker and responding to the news of his suicide.
"On November 22 we became aware of a criminal investigation concerning credible allegations of sexual abuse against minors, implicating Jarrett Booker.
"Jarret had been an integral part of our church, serving as Pastor of Worship and Youth Ministry for nearly a decade.
"These allegations prompted an internal review which revealed further evidence of misconduct. Regardless of the outcome of any criminal investigation, this behavior undeniably violated the moral and ethical standards we expect of our leaders and did not uphold the standards of our faith."
Church officials revealed that they made the decision to promptly terminate Booker's employment on November 25, just three days after learning of the investigation.
In response to their former employee's suicide, the Elders and Deacons of Nashua Baptist Church stated, "Regrettably, on the evening of November 27, Jarrett Booker took his own life, refusing to face the consequences of his actions. This event added immeasurably to the complexity and pain of the situation."
"Nashua Baptist Church unequivocally condemns all forms of abuse. It is evil and our God hates it," the statement said.
Following the news of Jarrett Booker's suicide, there was an outpouring of support on social media from friends and family who expressed shock and grief.
One friend described him as "one of the best guys I knew," while a family member characterized Booker as "one of the most gentle, loving, kind, Godly men I know."
Sergeant John Cinelli, the public information officer and communications division supervisor for the Nashua Police Department, confirmed that Booker was under investigation for child sex offenses.
"We learned of the alleged crimes through an investigation by another police department," he said. "The investigation is still ongoing even though the suspect is deceased."