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Youth minister, former dispatcher arrested after online sex sting

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Posted at 10:53 AM, Jan 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-30 18:52:22-05

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. -- A former University of Virginia official who created a website for sex addicts and a former Culpeper County dispatcher were arrested for soliciting minors online. The arrests came as part of a joint undercover operation between the Louisa County Sheriff's Office and Albemarle County Police Department.

Jonathan A. Schyner, 54, was arrested January 28. Major Donny Lowe with the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office said Schyner created a website for sex addicts that featured 12 questions for self-diagnosis with a goal of recovery.

"A fellowship of men and women who share our experience, strength and hope with each other so we may overcome sexual and emotional addiction and help others do the same," the website states.

Major Donny Lowe with the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office said Schnyer solicited a 14-year-old girl over the Internet hoping she would expose herself to him -- and he would do the same. However, the girl was actually an undercover investigator.

"Mr. Schnyer was arrested and interviewed without incident and is held without bond," investigators said. "A search warrant was served on his business on 2nd St SE, Charlottesville, VA, seizing several computers, cell phones and network equipment."

Jonathan A. Schnyer (PHOTO: Louisa County Sheriff's Office)

Jonathan A. Schnyer (PHOTO: Louisa County Sheriff's Office)

Schyner was charged with Solicitation of a Minor, a Class 5 Felony.

"Jonathan Schnyer was employed at the University from 1997 to 2009.  His last position was as Associate Director and Assessment Coordinator in Institutional Assessment," Anthony P. de Bruyn, a university spokesperson, told CBS 6.

Lowe said Schnyer now co-owns a fireplace and patio business in Charlottesville.

Schnyer was also a youth minister and refereed soccer games for youth, high school and college leagues at an  Episcopal Church.

A spokesperson for St Paul's Memorial Episcopal Church, located across from U.Va.'s rotunda, confirmed Schnyer was a youth leader more than 8 years ago and at some point was a chaperone on a student missions trip to areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Lowe also said Schyner created a website for sex addicts that featured 12 questions for self-diagnosis with a goal of recovery.

"A fellowship of men and women who share our experience, strength and hope with each other so we may overcome sexual and emotional addiction and help others do the same," the website states.

The undercover operation that resulted in Schyner's arrest also resulted in the arrest of 28-year-old Ray Calvin Lester. The Madison County man was arrested January 5 outside the Arby's in Zions Crossroads.

Ray Calvin Lester (PHOTO: Louisa County Sheriff's Office)

Ray Calvin Lester (PHOTO: Louisa County Sheriff's Office)

"Lester was apprehended without incident in the parking lot of the Arby’s at Zions Crossroads in Louisa County. During the arrest a .40 Cal S&W semi-automatic hand gun in a holster was discovered in his possession," Louisa investigators said. "Mr. Lester was held without bond partly because his age being 14 years the senior of the individual he was said to be soliciting."

Lester was also charged with Solicitation of a Minor, a Class 5 Felony.

"At the time of his arrest Mr. Lester was employed as a driver for Madison Wood Preservers. He had previously worked as a dispatcher for Culpeper County Sheriff's Office," investigators added. "Mr. Lester is also a volunteer at Reva Fire and Rescue in Culpeper and a volunteer for Madison County Fire and Rescue. He is married with a three year old daughter."

Lester is being held in the Central Virginia Regional Jail in Orange County. He is due in Louisa County General District Court on March 5.