BURKE COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A man who previously served as a children’s pastor at a church in Morganton and elementary school teacher in Hickory is facing a third round of charges involving child sex crimes, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office announced on Friday.

An investigation was launched following a cyber-tip that was received earlier this month regarding Aaron Mirtsching, 41, of Morganton. Initial warrants were issued following an investigation and Mirtsching was arrested and charged with sexual exploitation of a minor. He was given a $20,000 secured bond and had a scheduled court appearance.

A further investigation led to additional warrants being issued on the day of his court appearance for ten additional counts of indecent liberties with a minor. He was arrested again and issued a $50,000 secured bond with a second scheduled court appearance that week.

Following his second court appearance, warrants for two additional counts of indecent liberties with a minor were issued on Tuesday, the sheriff’s office confirmed. He was given an additional $150,000 secured bond and his latest court appearance is set for Thursday.

According to Burke County Public Schools, Mirtsching was employed as a teacher at Ray Childers Elementary School in Hickory from August 2017 to June 2018 before he left for another job.

The school district says it is aware of the charges against Mirtsching. Burke County Board of Education policy requires teachers to undergo a background check and drug screening with final approval on a personnel report prior to employment.

Mirtsching was also a part-time children’s director at Thrive Church in Morganton from 2021 through 2023, church officials confirmed with Queen City News.

He recently began a full-time role as a youth pastor. The church told Queen City News that they were ‘blindsided’ and unaware of the situation until after his arrest.