Parole not recommended for former youth pastor

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A hearing officer has recommended denying parole to a former youth pastor who is serving a prison sentence for sex crimes involving underage girls.

The Knoxville News Sentinel and The Daily Times report that 40-year-old Michael Roy Salazar tried to blame the victims for his actions during a parole hearing Wednesday.

Salazar pleaded guilty in 2010 to 20 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and statutory rape. The five victims were youth from the Lord’s Disciples church in Maryville.

Hearing officer Jane Joyce recommended that Salazar be denied parole for six years, which is the maximum amount of time allowed between hearings.

The recommendation now goes before the state Board of Parole, which will make a final decision.