This story has been updated.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado Springs haunted house owner has been arrested on child sex assault charges in connection with a relationship he had with an underage girl in the mid-2000s, according to police.
Vincent Stites, 49, was arrested Wednesday and bonded out of jail Thursday, according to court records. He is charged with sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.
Stites is an owner of Hellscream Entertainment, which runs several popular haunted attractions in the Colorado Springs area.
On Wednesday, the owners of Hellscream issued a statement saying he has chosen to step down from the management team.
“We, the co-owners of Hellscream Haunts, just learned of the accusations against Mr. Vincent Stites which allegedly occurred more than a decade ago and prior to the opening of Hellscream Haunts. Although this an ongoing case, Mr. Stites has chosen to step down effective immediately. We plan to continue to offer our popular annual entertainment to the community without his presence on our management team.”Hellscream Entertainment
Police said Stites was formerly a youth pastor at Friendship Assembly of God Church. The pastor of that church told FOX21 Stites was never employed by them. Stites’ spouse was employed by the church as a children’s minister, according to the pastor.
“Stites and his former spouse were youth or children’s pastors together, though only the ex-spouse received a financial stipend,” police said in response to a question from FOX21. “Stites performed the duties of a youth pastor, represented himself as a youth pastor, and was identified by members of the church as a youth pastor. He acted in the capacity of a youth or children’s pastor. Whether he was financially compensated is not material for the charge of Sexual Assault on a Child by One in a Position of Trust.”
Police originally said their investigation revealed Stites “had engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with an underage female parishioner who had been a member of his youth group in the mid-2000s.”
Police spokesman Lt. James Sokolik later clarified this wording.
“This is an incorrect characterization of the circumstances,” he said. “An underage person cannot consent to an illegal sexual act, and this description ignores the practice of grooming to overcome the resistance of victims of sexual assault. In an effort to indicate the difference between a forcible rape and a non-forcible rape, the wrong words were used. This was a poor choice of words for which we apologize.”
According to court records, the alleged crime happened between 2005 and 2009. Police received a report about the situation in September 2020, according to police.
Police are asking anyone who may have been a victim of Stites, or who has information that may help the investigation, to call them at 719-444-7000 and reference case number 20404547.
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX21 News for the latest.