Monday, November 29, 2010

Priest guilty
Former Fairbanks pastor found guilty of sex abuse of a minor
by Chris Freiberg / Fairbanks Daily News Miner
Nov 23, 2010 | 4136 views | 18 | | 10 | |
FAIRBANKS — A former Fairbanks pastor is in jail after being convicted last week of eight counts of sexual abuse of a minor.

A Fairbanks jury found Shawn Anthony Justice, 32, guilty of most of the charges, but deadlocked on three charges and found him not guilty of one count after more than week of testimony. Each count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor is a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Justice was remanded to Fairbanks Correctional Center immediately after the verdict, Fairbanks District Attorney Mike Gray stated in an e-mail. Sentencing is scheduled for March 24 before Superior Court Judge Michael McConahy.

“(Assistant District Attorney) Gayle Garrigues and Paralegal Marja Hallsten did a great job with a difficult case,” Gray said. “I was very pleased with their effort and with the result.”

Prosecutors will not seek to re-try Justice on the three charges the jury could not reach a verdict on, Gray said.

Justice met the now-15-year-old victim when he was pastor of Corinthian Baptist Church in 2007.

She testified during the trial that Justice began sending her text messages of a sexual nature the following year.

Her parents began monitoring her phone and computer use, but she said she sneaked out of her house on multiple occasions in 2009 to have sex with Justice at his apartment.

Justice was dismissed as pastor of the church in August 2008. He then led a satellite church, also in Fairbanks.

His firing by church elders led to a lengthy court battle about whether a church’s leadership or its congregation has the right to fire a pastor. That case ultimately was dismissed.

During the trial, jurors also heard about Justice’s 2003 misdemeanor conviction for contributing to the delinquency of a minor in Virginia.

In that case, Justice, then 24 years-old and a church choir director, had sex with a 15-year-old member of the choir.

Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Former Fairbanks pastor found guilty of sex abuse of a minor

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