Kissimmee church youth volunteer sought sex with girl, deputies say

Published On: Jul 02 2013 11:30:01 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 03 2013 06:44:46 AM EDT
Jonathan Kowalski

Jonathan Kowalski.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -

A Kissimmee church youth volunteer was arrested on suspicion of sending sexually explicit messages to an 11-year-old girl he met at his church and trying to have sex with her.

Church leaders said Jonathan Kowalski, 25, will no longer be able to volunteer or have contact with children at Living Water Fellowship in Kissimmee.

"I'm very disappointed, very appalled by it," said Pastor Terry Howell, who called authorities after the girl's mother came to him with the text messages and asked for help. "Friday, the family came to us and reported the incident of the texting and I felt like it had crossed the line."

For months, Kowalski volunteered with children at the church where he met the girl. According to an Osceola County sheriff's report, he told the girl he was 16 years old, she told him she was 14, and then he sent her messages, saying "ur so sexy" and "i can't wait to kiss you" and "i can't wait to have sex with u after we marry."

"There was no reason to believe that Jonathan would have done anything like this. I was very surprised," said Howell. "He was never one-on-one with any of the children, so he was always supervised as he was always with somebody."

Kowalski is also a father, whose own child attends school at the church.

Howell said the church checked Kowalski's criminal record in November and found no signs he would harm a child.

That's the same at Give Kids the World, a charity for sick children, where Kowalski volunteered since 2009. They too found no reason to keep him from working with children after performing a background check. Give Kids the World fired him from his volunteer job as soon as the allegations became public.

Other than a DUI and other driving issues, Kowalski's criminal record does not indicate he would ever be accused of sex with a minor.

No one at Kowalski's Poinciana address would comment on the case.

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