ABILENE, Texas - A former Abilene church and daycare worker accused of having sex with boys has been on the run for nearly a year, and an investigator who has kept contact with him says he may be plotting another crime.
Former employee at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church Jeffrey Forrest was charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child in 2015. He was scheduled for a trial on Aug. 29, but he jumped bail before facing his alleged victims in court.
His ex-wife, Jennifer Moore, was on the list of witnesses to testify. Moore had already moved away from Abilene to Denton because of the shame she felt. After Forrest didn’t show, she immediately knew her life was about to yet another turn.
For the past year, Moore claims her ex-husband has harassed and threatened to kidnap her eldest son.
“He very much attributes the consequences that he’s facing now to me,” Moore said.
It all started nearly five years ago, when Moore says the father of her children sat her down and confessed the unimaginable. According to Moore, Forrest told her he had had a sexual relationship with a young boy.
At first, and while still in shock, Moore claims she had tried to be understanding after Forrest tried to explain that he had been a victim of sexual abuse during his elementary school years.
“It’s very hard to flip a switch, from one day you’re married to someone that you’ve known since college, who worked in daycare, who’s a youth minister, to you’re married to a sex offender,” Moore said.
During the ‘90s Jeffrey Forrest had worked as a daycare worker with dozens of children under his care at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church. He was also a youth minister at several other churches in Abilene.
“The children and young people that he was placing himself around were not just young people, they were people who were at risk in some way or another,” Moore said.
Court documents state Forrest is accused of molesting four boys. In a sworn statement, one victim had the courage to report the abuse years after it happened, first going to his parents, then to police.
Private investigator Paul Smith has been on Forrest’s trail for months, taking trips to Del Rio, New York and Los Angeles.
Smith believes it’s highly likely Forrest is in Los Angeles, and he has a geographic profile of where Forrest may be.
But the former youth minister has proven to be very savvy with computers, and he’s using his expertise to move anonymously online.
“Jeff is very familiar with computers and how to use every aspect of that,” Smith said. “He uses the dark web, which protects his IP address. He’s able to get new phones, new laptop devices, new computers and basically be in a Starbucks and still access information.”
Forrest has been communicating online with a profile linked to his eldest son – but those messages have been intercepted by Smith. Forrest has lost a significant amount of weight in pictures that he has sent, but other contents of the messages provide cause for concern.
“He’s plotting to kidnap his own son, and he is in contact with family members who will try to do what he tells them to,” Smith said.
While Moore had initially hired private security guard, she is no longer allowing herself to live in fear.
“A part of healing is not allowing him to take anything more – no more energy, no more time,” Moore said.
If you have any information that can help, visit the Facebook page Wanted Jeffrey Forrest, where you can also find Smith’s information.
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