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Teausant attended school, church here
When news broke that former Mercer Island High School student Nicholas Teausant was arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization on Sunday, March 16, The Reverend Greg Asimakoupoulos said he was unsettled. Asimakoupoulos was the former pastor at Mercer Island Covenant Church, now Evergreen Covenant Church, the church that Teausant’s family attended during the year they lived on Mercer Island between 2009 and 2010.
“I’m conflicted. I can see in 16-year-old Nick someone who was struggling to be acknowleged,” said Asimakoupoulos who is now the chaplain at Covenant Shores. “My heart goes out to him. What’s played out here isn’t so much an issue of militant terrorist activity, but a continuation of being confused and calling out to be loved and accepted.”
Asimakoupoulos said Teausant’s family attended church regularly, with his step-mother singing in the choir. He recalled that Teausant looked for ways to be helpful, once willing to help with vacation Bible school.
While Asimakoupoulos said he knew Teausant’s parents better than he knew their son, he said he was aware of the fact that Teausant was a loner and had a challenge with fitting in with the rest of the youth group at church, wanting to be accepted and trying very hard to get the attention of his peers and adults. He remembers Teausant not so much as a troubled kid as much as a confused kid who tended to leap before he looked and act without thinking.
The pastor said adult leadership at the church spent time with Teausant one-on-one, realizing he was struggling to be accepted. “I think Nick genuinely responded to that and felt affirmed by the leaders of the youth group, even though his peers weren’t as welcoming as they could have been,” he said. “[Kids] don’t always respond as mom and dad would hope you respond to someone who’s just a bit different.”
Asimakoupoulos said he hopes people are able to step back and sympathize rather than jump to reactions about Teausant, as he hopes for the best for the kid he once knew. The Reporter had difficulty finding anyone who knew Teausant willing to talk about him.
“I’m aching and praying that this has a good outcome for him because he’s a good kid, deep down in his heart,” said Asimakoupoulos.