Wiley Green Leverett was the pastor of Solid Rock Community Church in Centerville when he was arrested on child molestation charges in May 2014.
Last week, a jury found the 58-year-old Leverett guilty of sexual battery against a child under 16 following a four-day trial, according to a Houston County District Attorney's Office news release.
Jurors found Leverett not guilty of a charge of child molestation, according to Assistant District Attorney Clif Woody.
Jurors deliberated about four hours before returning the verdict Friday. Both the prosecution and defense said they think Leverett was still the pastor of the church while on trial.
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Leverett was convicted of touching a 9-year-old girl's thigh as he drove the church bus on a Wednesday night in April 2012 to the church on Thomson Road, Woody said. The girl was seated next to Leverett, Woody said.
Leverett's attorney Russell Walker of Perry noted that the jury found that Leverett did not touch the child with sexual intent by not convicting him of child molestation.
"They merely found that he touched her on the inner thigh," Walker said.
Leverette told police he may have touched the child's thigh while tickling her, Walker said.
"To me, what he did is not an immoral act," Walker said. "Certainly, the jury has answered the question of whether it was sexual in nature ... They said it wasn't sexual in nature. To me, it's a sad result."
Walker said the law is bad.
Leverett "probably used bad judgment but I don't think he did anything indecent or immoral," Walker said. "In order to protect himself, he should have used better judgment."
Leverett, who owned an auto sales business when arrested, is expected to be sentenced Thursday by Senior Judge George Nunn. The business appears to be closed, Woody said.
The man faces one to five years in prison, Woody said.
Leverett was originally indicted on multiple counts of child molestation and related charges after he was accused of inappropriately touching four girls ranging in age from 8 to 16.
The other charges were quashed by the judge before trial, which means that prosecutors could not pursue those charges at trial and would have to reindict Leverett in order to pursue them, Woody said.
"We're considering it," Woody said. "If we don't pursue them, we'll dismiss the charges. But as of right now, we're still reviewing that and have not made decision."
The other children testified at trial and had their stories been found credible, jurors likely would have convicted Leverett of child molestation in regards to the 9-year-old girl, Walker said.