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Pastor Revealed as Registered Sex Offender After Arrest for Possessing Firearm as a Convicted Felon

Peter Ventura
Screengrab via Facebook / @Marilyn Maxwell

A Connecticut pastor has been arrested and charged with possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Peter Ventura of First Baptist Church of Woodbury is a registered sex offender. 

Editor’s note: This article contains information about sexual assault that some readers might find disturbing and/or triggering.

Ventura, 67, was arrested on June 25 after Plymouth police received a tip that a convicted felon in the area might be in possession of a firearm. Police took him into custody after they discovered he had a Byrna pistol, a non-lethal weapon that fires plastic pellets and balls of pepper spray.

First Baptist Church describes itself as “an Independent, Fundamental, Bible Believing Church” and says that it is “on the move where the Word of God is our Final Authority, without compromise, or apology!”

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The church believes that the King James Version of the Bible, as translated in 1611, alone “is the inerrant, infallible verbally, plenarily inspired, preserved Word of God.”

Ventura is still listed as the church’s pastor. ChurchLeaders has reached out to First Baptist Church of Woodbury and will update this article in the event of a reply. 

While First Baptist Church had been meeting at the facility of The First Congregational Church of Woodbury, First Congregational released a statement on Wednesday, July 3, saying that it had not been made aware of Ventura’s status as a sex offender. 

“The First Congregational Church of Woodbury had allowed the First Baptist Church of Woodbury, led by Peter Ventura, to meet at First Congregational Church without knowledge of his previous criminal convictions,” the church said. “First Congregational Church has since disassociated themselves from Mr. Ventura and his parish and First Baptist Church [will] no longer worship at or have access to First Congregational Church.”

According to the sex offender registry in Connecticut, Ventura was convicted in 1983 of two counts of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree. He was later convicted of another count of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree in 1993. 

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According to appellate court documents, Ventura was originally charged with 21 counts of first degree sexual assault in 1983. Six of the counts related to allegations that he “threatened his child’s sixteen-year-old babysitter with a razor, punched her in the jaw and sexually assaulted her.”