COLORADO SPRINGS — On Thursday, September 23, a judge accepted a former youth pastor's guilty plea for sexual assault on a child, who was a member of his youth group.
Vincent Stites was also the owner of HellScream Haunted House in Colorado Springs, but the company told News5 he resigned from his role this spring.
Stites has served 110 days in jail leading up to his sentencing, and the judge ordered he serve 90 more days. He will participate in Colorado's "Sex Offender Intensive Supervision Program" (SOISP) for 10 years to life, which is probation for non-violent or low-risk sex offenders. He must register as a sex offender and pay varying court costs and fines. Once released from custody, he must report to probation within 24 hours.
A Colorado Springs Police Department investigation revealed the sexual assault happened in the mid-2000s. Stites was arrested on February 24, 2021.
In the courtroom on Thursday, family and friends of both the plaintiff and defendant filled the benches. First, portions of pretext phone calls between the survivor and Stites were played. Stites told her his actions were out of love, and he hopes he did not cause her any pain. "I never stopped thinking about you... I never stopped loving you," he says on the recording.
Stites also told her he dreams about her once or twice a week.
The victim in the case addressed the court with an emotional statement. She claimed to have known Stites since she was 8 years old, and told the judge he groomed her. She said he would send inappropriate texts regularly, and give her gifts that were accompanied by cues to keep quiet.
When she was 15, and Stites was 34, "he stole my innocence before I was old enough to hold a driver's license." She remembers crying while it happened. The sexual assault would continue for a few years, according to the survivor.
When she was 24 years old, she broke her silence. She said she found her strength when she realized this is not her secret, this is Stites' secret. "Today has been years in the making," she said.
Stites spoke during his sentencing as well, apologizing for his actions and saying it was a dark time in his life.
The judge said the remorse Stites expressed during the pretext calls seemed to be more manipulative than sincere.
We the co-owners of HellScream Entertainment have learned that Mr. Vincent Stites has been sentenced following a guilty plea for a criminal charge that occurred approximately 15 years ago. This case occurred several years before HellScream ever opened its doors and is in no way related to HellScream Haunted House. Mr. Stites resigned from his role as Chief Operating Officer of HellScream Entertainment this past spring and is no longer part of the General Management Team. Jack Schinkel, father of co-owner Jeff Schinkel, has stepped back in as a co-owner since Vince’s departure. This year HellScream will celebrate its 13th year serving the community with spooky entertainment and we are committed to providing fun, safe, and family friendly entertainment to Southern Colorado.