A Centerville pastor acquitted of child molestation charges last week based on allegations that surfaced in 2014 was sentenced Thursday to 35 days in the Houston County jail for the lone charge that jurors convicted him of.
The jail time for Wiley Green Leverett, 58, a preacher at Solid Rock Community Church, is for his conviction on a charge of sexual battery against a child under the age of 16, a misdemeanor.
That crime, prosecutors said, happened in 2012 when Leverett touched a 9-year-old girl’s thigh while he was driving a church bus.
In sentencing Leverett as a first offender, Houston County Superior Court Judge George Nunn also ordered him to serve a year on probation.
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Leverett, first accused of inappropriately touching four girls who ranged in age from 8 to 16, had been indicted on multiple counts of child molestation and other charges.
Two dozen or more people supporting Leverett, some of whom spoke on his behalf, filled benches in the courtroom at Thursday’s hearing.
Leverett’s wife, Geraldine, stood before Nunn and said, “Wiley is a good man. He helps everybody. Judge, I’m asking you, please, to let him be the man that he really is, a fine Christian man. … I love that man, and he is wonderful. … Just take it into consideration.”
A statement from the mother of the girl Leverett was convicted of illegally touching was read aloud before the judge rendered his sentence.
The mother was not at the hearing, but another woman read the statement, which mentioned how, upon learning of Leverett’s act, the mother recalls that “it made me sick to my stomach. It changed my daughter and our family. (The girl) had trusted adults, but she was forced to learn all adults are not trustworthy. She had confidence in Mr. Leverett as her pastor. Yet he betrayed the trust and violated her innocence.”