Ex-pastor receives 20-year term


Paul Valentine, former youth minister at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Ocean Springs, pleaded guilty May 22 to sex crimes against a 15-year-old church member in 2005, the Associated Press has reported.


Valentine had been charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count of touching a child for lustful purposes. Senior Circuit Judge Kathy Jackson sentenced Valentine to 20 years, each with 10 years suspended and five years’ probation, on each count of sexual battery. In addition, she sentenced him to a 15-year prison term with five years suspended and five years’ probation on the charge of touching a child for lustful purposes. He’s also required to register as a sex offender after his release.


The judge told Valentine that she’d make sure that he’d never again have any contact with any children or the victim and the victim’s family.


Ocean Springs police arrested Valentine, now 37, in September 2004.

Valentine admitted engaging in sex acts with the victim, now 17, on three occasions, two of which occurred on Sept. 16, 2004, while he was seeking shelter from Hurricane Ivan at the home of the victim’s parents. The third incident occurred on Labor Day 2004.


The victim said in a prepared statement that she refused to allow what had happened to affect the rest of her life. She said it hadn’t been easy but she’d learned that she wasn’t to blame for anything.


Valentine asked her to forgive him.


“When you were your most vulnerable, I was not the pastor you needed me to be,” Valentine said. “I am so sorry for what happened between us, and I pray that one day you’ll be able to forgive me.”