Pittsgrove Preacher Gets Plea Deal in Sexual Assault Case
By Christopher Weir
Bridgeton News [New Jersey]
February 3, 2006
PITTSGROVE TWP. -- A former Pittsgrove clergyman who was charged with sexually assaulting three teenagers, reached a plea agreement with Atlantic County prosecutors this week because two of the victims could not be located, authorities said.
Llewellyn E. Hill III, 47, of Richland, entered a guilty plea on Monday to charges of simple assault and harassment, according to Atlantic City Assistant Prosecutor James McClain. Hill is expected to be sentenced to probation in March.
"I don't want to go into details, but we had trouble locating two of the victims in the incident," said McClain Thursday. "Without the victims, we agreed to a plea agreement based on the chances we felt we had of winning the case."
Hill was a minister with the Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church on Gershal Avenue in Pittsgrove when the assaults occurred, according to authorities. He was arrested in February of 2004 and charged with aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of minors.
The victims were two girls, who were ages 15 and 16 at the time of the alleged assaults, and a 16-year-old boy. All three victims were members of the Mount Moriah Church at the time of assaults, which took place in Atlantic County, authorities said.
None of the victims were related to each other, according to McClain.
Pittsgrove Mayor Peter Voros was distressed by news of the agreement.
"That's terrible," said Mayor Peter Voros. "I hope the Atlantic County Prosecutor's office would have made a better effort to find these people. This person is out there has the trust of children, and I would hope his punishment would be more severe because of the importance of this issue."
Mount Moriah Pastor Jocephus Guinn, who was not with the church at the time of the assaults, said the church has moved on.
"Reverend Hill resigned from the church in June of 2004," said Guinn. "The church has no further comment on this issue. We've moved on and have no further comments at this time."
Guinn was not aware if any of the children remained members of the church after the assaults occurred.
Hill is expected to be brought in front of a judge in March. At that point, the judge will have the option of accepting the plea agreement or sending the case back to trial, McClain said.
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