Stories in this Regional News Roundup are excerpted from weekly newspapers from around the region. This is part one, with part two set to appear in Sunday’s Tribune.

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A youth pastor at the Cascade Community Church was arrested last week for felony sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl, according to Valley County court records.

Estevan Diaz, 45, was arrested Dec. 29 and charged with five counts of lewd conduct with a child younger than 16 and two counts of enticing a child through the internet, video image or other communication device.

Diaz was fired from his position at the church, Pastor Andy Wegener said.

“The church is shocked and grieved over what has happened, and we are working with all individuals who have been impacted to get them every resource available for healing,” Wegener said.

The victim’s mother reported to the Valley County Sheriffs Office that there were more than 700 inappropriate texts between Diaz and her child, court records said.

Police questioned Diaz and uncovered seven incidents of sexual contact between Diaz and the victim in December, the records said.

The Star-News does not publish the names of crime victims unless specifically authorized by the victim.

Diaz had been a youth pastor at the church at 109 W. Pine St. in Cascade since July 2021.

Duties of the youth pastor included developing curriculum for youth ministry, leading youth gatherings, providing spiritual counseling, overseeing staff and volunteers and developing relationships with schools in the community, Wegener said.

Diaz was being held as of Tuesday at Valley County Jail on a $150,000 bond.

A hearing is set for Tuesday in Valley County Magistrate Court in Cascade to determine if there is enough evidence against Diaz for him to stand trial.

The Valley County Sheriffs Office is requesting anyone with further information about this case to call (208) 382-7150.

— Max Silverson, The Star-News, (McCall), Thursday