Investigators with the Ceres Police High Tech Crimes unit have arrested an Oakdale youth minister on child pornography charges.
Tyler Bliss, 27, a youth minister at Bethel Church, which is affiliated with the Assemblies of God, was taken into custody Monday and was being booked at the Stanislaus County Jail.
According to authorities, officers acting on a tip served search warrants at the church in the 100 block of East G Street and a home in the 600 block of Hudson Avenue, also in Oakdale, on Tuesday morning.
They seized computers and other electronic devices for forensic examination. Carissa Higginbotham, Ceres police spokeswoman, said it’s too early in the investigation to determine whether Bliss was involved in creating any of the images concerned.
She did say the children in the photos appear to be younger than 13. “We were very concerned because of the access he has to children.”
According to the Bethel website, Tyler Bliss is one of three children of pastor Dave Bliss and his wife, Lisa.
Tyler Bliss has served in youth ministry at the church since 2009 and oversees junior high, high school and college programs while pursuing a preaching license with the Assemblies of God, the website said on a page that was removed Monday afternoon. “Tyler has had the privilege of seeing hundreds of teenagers come to Christ throughout his ministry here at Bethel,” the website said.
Higginbotham said Ceres investigated the case because the department has the resources to do so, with its High Tech Crimes task force, two full-time investigators trained in computer crimes against children and computer forensic examinations. “It’s not unusual for us to work with outside agencies on these cases,” she said.
Detectives ask anyone with information on the case to contact Detective Britton Moore at (209) 538-5627 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips can be anonymously reported to Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers at (866) 60-CRIME.