A former Virginia youth pastor was sentenced to three years in prison for sexually abusing a teenager from his church.
Jordan Baird, who was facing up to 10 years behind bars, was sentenced Monday to three years, plus three years probation after he pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent acts with a child by a custodian.
During his sentencing hearing, Baird told the court he took complete responsibility for his actions and apologized to the victim and her family, as well as his own family and wife.
“This was my lie. These were my mistakes,” said Baird. “I brought shame on my family and shame on my friendships.”
Baird’s 16-year-old victim also spoke at the hearing.
She was 16 when Baird sexually abused her at the Life Church in Manassas, a megachurch owned by Baird’s family.
FOX 5 reports:
In 2014, he kissed her, exposed himself, put her hand on his genitals and asked for oral sex. The victim was in tears when she spoke saying she’s lost her trust in people and lost her faith. Her mother said her daughter suffered from depression before being abused and that what happened caused her to spiral.
She wasn’t the only young woman Baird targeted from the church around 2014, soon after he appeared on a singing competition reality show called ‘The Next.’ There were other underage girls and young adults, two of whom spoke at the sentencing hearing.
Last year, Baird was convicted for sexually abusing Morgan Harding who was also 16 at the time. She’s given FOX 5 permission to identify her, though she’s opted not to speak publicly. Baird was sentenced to eight months in prison in that case and was forced to register as a sex offender.
“I believe that three years in a state penitentiary that hopefully, Jordan will really truly get the help that he needs, programs that he needs to go into there. And I hope it really sends a strong message that abusing children, especially inside the church, is absolutely unacceptable,” said Gloria Harding, Morgan Harding’s mother.
Harding said Baird should have admitted what he did when he was arrested several years ago. She and others from the church say church leaders painted the young victims as liars.
“I hope that his family was able today to really see how much just the perpetuation of the lies that went on for so many years really culminated to today. None of this was necessary,” Harding said.
Baird’s wife told the court that her husband is a changed man and that they have a daughter who’s 5-years-old.