Wednesday, October 4, 2017
A pastor in southwestern Arkansas has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing two teen girls he met in church.
The Texarkana Gazette reports that 42-year-old David Wayne Farren first confessed to abusing the victims during an interview with police in 2016.
He pleaded guilty Tuesday to seven counts of first-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault and a misdemeanor charge of violating mandatory reporting requirements.
He’ll have to register as a sex offender upon release from prison.
The victims are now in their 20s. Prosecutors say the young women approved of the plea agreement, which spared them from testifying in court.
One victim told authorities she first met Farren while a student at Trinity Christian School in Texarkana, Ark., and that he served as her youth minister at Heritage Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. Another victim reported Farren began touching her inappropriately when she was 15 and Farren was her youth minister at Faith Baptist Church in Texarkana, Ark.
Prosecutor thankful the victims didn’t have to endure trial
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell told the Gazette she is “thankful” the victims didn’t have to endure a trial and that she is hopeful they “can begin their healing process.”
“There is no greater betrayal of our trust and faith as parents or children than when a church leader, a youth leader, preys on the children entrusted to his guidance and care,” Mitchell said. “David Farren did just that. He betrayed the trust of the parents and children when he manipulated that trust and sexually assaulted members of his youth group while in a position of trust as their youth leader.”
Farren’s lawyer, Jason Horton, said Tuesday’s proceeding was a “difficult day for everyone involved.”
“Ultimately, David chose to accept responsibility for his actions, which will hopefully bring some form of closure to all of those affected by this case,” he said.