Former Georgia pastor sentenced for sexual assault of Ugandan minor

MBALE (UGANDA) [Pocatello, ID]

July 7, 2022

By Staff reports

A former pastor from Georgia who was conducting missionary work in Uganda when he sexually assaulted a girl under his care was sentenced by a federal judge to serve above the guideline sentencing range for his crime.

Eric Tuininga, 45, of Milledgeville, was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release and $20,000 in restitution to the victim by Chief U.S. District Judge Marc T. Treadwell after he previously pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places. In addition, Tuininga will have to register as a sex offender for life upon his release from federal prison. There is no parole in the federal system.

“I want to recognize the true bravery displayed by the Ugandan girl for speaking out when she was assaulted by a trusted person of power from another country, courageously seeking justice across continents,” U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said. “Law enforcement – both abroad and here at home – took on a challenging international case. Homeland Security Investigations’ Child Exploitation Unit worked tirelessly to ensure that the truth was uncovered and the defendant was held accountable for his crime.”

According to court documents, a U.S. citizen affiliated with the U.S.-based Orthodox Presbyterian Church operating in Mbale, Uganda, contacted U.S. Embassy Kampala American Citizen Services in June 2019, to report that Tuininga, who was working as one of the group’s ministers, had sex with the Ugandan female minor, who was approximately 14 years old. U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security agents in Kampala, Uganda, opened an investigation into the allegation.