Late afternoon on July 20, Elizabethtown (Pa.) College officials were informed that David Eller, an ordained minister and director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietest Studies and chair of the Religious Studies Department, was arrested and charged with attempted unlawful contact with a minor and criminal use of a computer.
The Pennsylvania attorney general announced July 21 that Eller was arrested by agents of the Child Predator Unit as part of an ongoing undercover Internet “sting” investigation. Eller was arrested after allegedly making contact over the Internet with several undercover agents, and after allegedly arranging to meet an undercover officer who assumed the online identity of a young girl.
Because of the seriousness of these charges, Elizabethtown president Theodore E. Long has placed Eller on administrative leave. The college is cooperating fully with the authorities.
Elizabethtown is requesting prayer for this difficult situation. “Please join me in praying for the Eller family in this very difficult time,” said Allen Hansell, director of church relations for Elizabethtown.
“The Young Center has appreciated your support and asks your patience as future steps are determined for ensuring its longterm vitality,” he said.
“Members of the Church of the Brethren will certainly want to keep Elizabethtown College and the Eller family at the center of our prayers in the coming weeks,” said Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren General Board. “May God’s grace and peace be evident in our every word and deed in this time of sadness.”
Don Kraybill has been named to serve as interim director of the Young Center. Kraybill is a senior fellow at the college and has a long history of distinguished service to both the college and the Young Center.
A statement from the college said that over the next few weeks, Kraybill will lead an effort to assess the impact of this unfortunate situation and plan a course of action that will allow the Young Center to continue with its work.