According to media reports, a Texas youth pastor who is suspected of sexually abusing at least 14 girls has been released from prison early for good behavior.
Robert Shiflet, a former youth minister, received a 33-month term in June 2021 as part of a plea agreement for sexually abusing two young girls. Nevertheless, he spent only 25 months of that time in federal prison.
The victims of the abuse were connected to Denton Bible Church, in a suburb north of Dallas, throughout the 1990s. In 2005, the victims finally came forward.
One of the victims was 14 years old when she first saw the disgraced holy man in 1996, according to the prosecution. He attacked the girl on an eighth-grade camping trip to Arkansas’ Buffalo National River a year later.
“He slowly treated me more like a girlfriend. As a young teenager, I knew something didn’t feel right. I knew that I felt uncomfortable. And when he would do different things and touch me in ways that were inappropriate, he would ask me if it was okay. And if I said yes, he would keep doing them. And if I said no, he would ice me out emotionally.”
Shiflet has been free since January 11, but according to his victims, they were not informed of his release beforehand.
Instead, they got an email from the Justice Department more than a month after he was released explaining that they couldn’t give them advance notice because it was “immediate, and/or unexpected.”
The ex-pastor is currently residing in Weatherford, Texas, just west of Fort Worth, where he is required to register as a life-long sex offender.
After conducting its own investigation and cooperating with law authorities, the church where Shiflet worked connected him to at least a dozen more abuse instances in addition to the guilty pleas.