Louisiana Baptist Pastor Sentenced to 60 Years in Prison for Rape and Sexual Battery of 9-Year-Old Girl

John Michael Ward

A former pastor of a Baptist church in Louisiana received a second sentence of 60 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to rape and sexual battery of a minor on Tuesday.

The Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office announced that John Michael Ward, who formerly served as pastor of Bellview Baptist Church in Westlake, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree rape and two counts of sexual battery of a girl younger than 13.

Ward was sentenced to 40 years for the second-degree rape charge and 60 years for each of the two counts of sexual battery of the minor victim. The sentences will run concurrently, according to the district attorney’s office.

Before his sentencing Tuesday, Ward was sentenced to 60 years in prison in March on separate charges of two counts of child pornography production. Those charges came after a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation. Ward was ordered to make restitution to the victim.

More than a year after Ward’s arrest, interim Pastor Bruce Baker detailed in an interview with The Christian Post what effect Ward’s actions have had on the church.

“We’ve had a few families leave. We’ve had a few families leave and come back. We’ve been able to maintain some stability, but there’s still some healing to be done,” Baker explained.

Due to the church’s proximity to Lake Charles, which local media describes as a “hot spot” for COVID-19, Baker said his congregation was “much more concerned about the pandemic than about their former pastor.” At one point in the past month, the southwest Louisiana city had the highest number of new cases of coronavirus per capita in the entire United States.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Post, Ryan Foley

When you purchase a book below it supports the Number #1 Black Christian Newspaper BLACK CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK ONE (BCNN1.com) and it also allows us to spread the Gospel around the world.