Ex-Baptist Minister Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse

By Patricia M. Murret
July 30, 2008

A former Baptist minister and youth choir director in Gaithersburg pleaded guilty last week to child abuse of a female youth choir singer that occurred over four years in the 1990s.

Timothy Chun-Chock Mann, 47, of Hoover, Ala., a former minister at First Baptist Church of Gaithersburg, and recent choir director at an Alabama congregation, will be sentenced on Sept. 29 in Montgomery County Circuit Court. Under Maryland code, sexual child abuse is a felony offense that brings a possible 15-year prison sentence.

Third-degree sex offense charges were dropped as part of Mann's plea agreement, said Seth Zucker, spokesman for the State's Attorney's Office. A copy of a pre-indictment memorandum filed with the court's assignment office and obtained by The Gazette shows that Mann agreed to plead guilty "to the sole count of sexual child abuse and the State and Defense will ask the Court to cap any period of executed incarceration at 7 years." Sentencing guidelines for Mann, who has no previous criminal record, suggest 4 to 9 years in prison, according to the memo.

Mann's attorney, Barry Helfand of Rockville, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

The victim, now 29, was 14 years old when first abused in 1992, according to police. She reported the abuse to police in December.

Mann resigned in March from his job as choir director at Shades Crest Baptist Church in Hoover, after he told church leaders of the charges, according to Shades Crest Pastor Dennis Foust.

Mann joined the First Baptist Church, at 200 W. Diamond Ave., in 1991 as its minister of music and directed the youth choir, according to a police statement.

He "engaged in inappropriate sexual acts with a female youth choir member" between December 1992 and the summer of 1996, according to police. He left the First Baptist Church in 1998, a church administrator said. The abuse mostly occurred in Mann's church office, according to police.


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