The former youth pastor of a local church pled guilty Tuesday to child molestation, receiving a 15-year sentence.
Bulloch County Superior Court Jude John R. Turner sentenced Douglas Randall Pope, 32, South Zetterower Avenue, to 15 years – five to serve, 10 years on probation, after he pled guilty to one count of child molestation and three counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes, according to records at the Bulloch County Clerk’s Office.
Pope was arrested in May after a 14-year-old victim told police he had been molesting her for “some time,” Statesboro Public Safety Director Wendell Turner said in previous interviews.
After she made the complaint, other alleged victims came forth, including the daughter of Tammy Baker.
“At first I wanted a longer sentence, but at least he will be on 10 years probation and has to register as a sex offender,” she said. “Somebody will be (keeping contact with) him for 15 years. I’m just glad he did the right thing in pleading guilty and we can all heal from it.”
Pope was youth pastor at Merrywood Baptist Church.
Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Daphne Jarriel said in addition to the sentence, Pope is banned from the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit, and must complete a psycho-sexual evaluation.
After police began the investigation in May, officers seized computers, cameras and other digital media from Pope’s home during the execution of a search warrant.
Since Pope pled guilty, the juvenile victims did not have to testify in court, Baker said. Her daughter is “doing fine, and is relieved she did not have to testify,” she said.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.