David Donald Hoppenjan served as pastor at Shalimar United Methodist Church for 10 years before transferring to First United Methodist Church in Pace last year.
PENSACOLA — David Donald Hoppenjan, a former Methodist pastor with ties to Okaloosa and Santa Rosa County churches, will serve 21 months in state prison for trying to arrange to have sex with a minor.
Hoppenjan, who served as pastor at Shalimar United Methodist Church for 10 years before transferring to First United Methodist Church in Pace last year, had pleaded no contest in April to the charge of traveling to meet a minor for sexual contact.
Escambia County Circuit Court Judge John Miller imposed sentence Tuesday, according to a news release from the State Attorney’s Office. Hoppenjan will serve three years' probation following his incarceration and has been designated a sexual offender.
Hoppenjan, 53, was one of 22 men arrested in September 2016 as part of an internet sting operation conducted by the Pensacola Police Department. Many other agencies, also participated, the news release said.
The sting was set up to target adults who traveled to a designated location to engage in sex with a minor. Hoppenjan traveled to two locations to meet what he believed was a 14-year-old boy, according to his arrest report.
Soon after the arrest, the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, “saddened” by the incident, announced Hoppenjan was no longer a church pastor. A conference spokesperson declined to say at that time when the decision to disavow Hoppenjan had been made.
According to his arrest report, Hoppenjan was specific as to what he wanted to do with his victim, who was actually an undercover officer.
Four other Santa Rosa and Okaloosa county residents were caught up in Operation Undertow. Jackson Silliman, 21, of Pace, Alex Johnson, 19, of Pace, Mison Johnson, 22, of Crestview, and John Staples, 24, of Milton, also were charged with traveling to meet a minor for sex.
Staples was also charged with possession of marijuana.