Ex-Pastor to Spend Holidays in Jail

The Gazette
December 15, 2008

A former pastor convicted of molesting a teen-age girl will spend Christmas in jail after a judge Monday refused his request to be let out on bail while awaiting sentencing.

Former Lighthouse Baptist Church associate pastor Jon Moore, 52, pleaded guilty to sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust Oct. 23 and was sent to the El Paso County jail. He was scheduled to be sentenced Monday to a maximum of 60 days in jail, but the probation department needed more time to complete his pre-sentence investigation report, said his public defender Michele Newell.

She asked that since Moore would have been released on Dec. 23, he be set free on bail.

After objections from Senior Deputy District Attorney Debbie Pearson and the victim's family, 4th Judicial District Judge Larry Schwartz refused and ordered Moore back for sentencing Jan. 5.

Moore admitted he repeatedly assaulted a then 15-year-old female parishioner, including after Sunday services in the church basement, starting in 2004. The abuse continued for more than a year. The victim and her family moved out of state. In February, Colorado Springs Police recorded a phone conversation between Moore and victim where he repeatedly apologized to her and asked her if she wanted him to go to jail or kill himself, according to an arrest affidavit.

The victim's father, who flew in for the sentencing, was allowed to speak.

He talked about her loss of innocence and how the abuse changed her.

"A lot of people were saying it was her fault and that she's as guilty as he is, so that cost her a lot of friendships," he said.

The Gazette does not normally identify victims of sexual assault.

"Her boyfriend, that we would have picked to marry her, broke up with her and this was a significant contributing factor," her father said. "It's very hard for her to trust men."

Though the family has forgiven Moore and want him to get treatment, he said, they also want him to be punished to a "sentence typical for this crime."

"We want (the sentence) to be a deterrent to anyone contemplating this type of action," he said.

Moore could have been sentenced to up to 12 years in prison had he been found guilty at trial. In addition to the jail time, the deal calls for Moore to register as a sex offender and be on "sex offender intensive supervised probation" possibly for the rest of his life. He will also be restricted from coming into contact with children.

Moore spent most of the court hearing Monday with his head bowed.


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