Ex-Salem pastor pleads guilty to sexually assaulting child, will get prison term

South Jersey Times

By Alex Young | South Jersey Times
on July 29, 2014

SALEM — The former pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Salem pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually assaulting a minor child — one of his own relatives — in the summer of 2013.

Jonathan Smith, 59, formerly of Market Street in Salem, will be sentenced to four years in New Jersey State Prison when he returns to Superior Court in September. He pleaded guilty to one count of second degree sexual assault.

In court Tuesday, Smith admitted to sexually assaulting a victim less than 13 years old. At Smith’s arraignment in April, Assistant Salem County Prosecutor Lisa Rastelli revealed that the victim was a relative who spent time during the summer of 2013 at Smith’s home, the Presbyterian pastor’s house on Market Street.

The boy’s mother reportedly became concerned when he returned home after his time in Salem and something didn’t seem right. The victim told his mother about the incidents, who then alerted the authorities.

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