Parents of boys accused of burning church likely to pay for repairs

Parents of boys accused of burning church likely to pay for repairs »Play Video
Flames shoot from the church early Monday morning. (Photo courtesy Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue)

TUALATIN, Ore. - It appears the parents of two 13-year-old boys accused of torching a local church will have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage as part of a plea deal that keeps their sons from going on trial.

One of the teenagers appeared in juvenile court in Washington County Tuesday afternoon with his hands padlocked in chains for full sentencing, but the hearing was postponed.

The incredible damage he and a friend caused at the Living Savior Lutheran Church in March is now being repaired.

The boys started the fire in the church's preschool. It was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene just minutes after it was lit. Investigators say the two went into the church to steal money.

They were charged with burglary and arson.

Before the sentencing hearing for one of the boys was rescheduled, attorneys did talk about how the parents will most likely be forced to pay restitution to the church.

Outside of court, one of the boy’s parents declined to comment.

Church Pastor Nathan Brandt said the damage costs are well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars but the exact amount has not been determined.

He said the boys did not have a master key as was first reported. He said they used what's called a Level-3 key that only opened the outside doors and nothing inside the church. But he said he does not know how they got that key.

Brandt said the church sanctuary could be reopened by this fall.

Even two months after the fire was extinguished, Brandt said his thoughts and those of his parishioners are with the teenagers accused of burning his church.

"We hope they grow up to be law-abiding citizens of society," he said.

Meanwhile, the boys remain in juvenile detention where they have been for almost two months. One will receive his full sentence in two weeks and the other on June 11.

Details of how much time the boys will be sentenced to juvenile detention and more precise damage estimates could be released in two weeks.