Jurors convict former Hawkinsville pastor of having sex with underage teen

bpurser@macon.comDecember 12, 2013 

Terrance King, former pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Hawkinsville, was convicted Thursday in Houston County Superior Court of statutory rape, aggravated child molestation and enticing a child for indecent purposes. By BECKY PURSER/bpurser@macon.com.

PERRY -- A 34-year-old man was convicted Thursday of having sex last fall with an underage girl whom he met at the church where he was the pastor.

After deliberating less than an hour, a Houston County jury found Terrance King guilty of statutory rape, aggravated child molestation and enticement of a child for indecent purposes.

King, who had pleaded not guilty, remained composed after the verdict was read. Jurors were ushered out a rear door of the courtroom. King hugged his mother and told a young man standing nearby to take care of her.

The former pastor is facing 25 years to life in prison for the aggravated child molestation conviction alone, according to prosecutors.

King is expected to be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. Friday before Judge Edward D. Lukemire. Prosecution and defense attorneys declined comment prior to the sentencing.

Earlier during the one-day trial, prosecutor Mark Anthony told jurors that King seduced the girl. She was a 15-year-old ninth-grader when King took her to a Perry hotel Nov. 13, 2012, and had sex with her.

“This man is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Anthony told jurors.

But Nick White, King’s attorney, had argued that the teenager was infatuated with the young, charismatic pastor and fabricated the story when she became angry that he married.

The girl testified she met King when he was the pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. They began to chat on Facebook and talk on the telephone.

She described their relationship as “boyfriend and girlfriend” and said King told her he loved her.

On the morning of the alleged incident when she was supposed to be at school, King picked her up in his car down the road from her home, the teenager told jurors.

She said he drove her to a Perry hotel where they had sex. He then drove her back to her home.

The girl also testified she became angry after learning King had married later that month and had posted photos of his bride on Facebook. She said she asked him about his new wife and King told her that she was “nobody special.” The teenager also said King told her she was still his “No. 1.” She said she was still in love with him.

The girl also testified that King contacted her last month and again last week and asked her to say “it never happened.”

The girl’s mother testified that she first learned of the alleged hotel incident at a deacon’s meeting at the church in January and immediately called 911. Perry police investigated and charged King.

Bob Patel, the manager of the Econo Lodge in Perry, testified about hotel records and a credit card receipt that showed King rented a room Nov. 12, 2012, with checkout at 11 a.m. the following day. Patel said he did not know when King checked out.

The attendance clerk for the school where the girl attended said she was absent Nov. 13, 2012.

The prosecution also called the investigating Perry police detective before resting its case. King chose not testify on his own behalf, and the defense did not call any other witnesses.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service