A former Wichita youth pastor who repeatedly sexually abused a 15-year-old girl he knew through his work at Word of Life Church will spend just shy of eight years in prison, a Sedgwick County judge decided Wednesday.
The girl, who is now 20, wasn’t in court for the sentencing of Chauncey Walker, 48.
But she sent a Wichita attorney representing her in a civil case accusing the church and its senior minister of enabling the abuse to speak on her behalf about what she went through.
“This started under the guise of counseling and went on for years,” the attorney, Jonathan McConnell, said of the relationship between Walker and the girl.
McConnell told the court the sex and harassment took place at church and in other places owned by Word of Life where the girl was supposed to be safe, including a bus and the youth group building, Ground Zero.
Eventually, she fled the state to get away from Walker’s influences, he told the court.
“We’re talking about systematic abuse,” McConnell said.
Neither Walker nor his defense attorney, Quentin Pittman, said much during Wednesday’s hearing other than to ask Judge David Kaufman to impose the 95-month prison sentence negotiated in his plea agreement with prosecutors. Previously, they had denied the abuse allegations.
Sedgwick County Assistant District Attorney Justin Edwards, a prosecutor, also asked the judge to follow the plea agreement.
Kaufman agreed and gave Walker 61 months in prison for one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and 34 months in prison for one count of aggravated indecent solicitation of a child. Walker will serve those terms consecutively, or back to back.
Depending on his behavior in prison and other factors, he could be released slightly earlier than the nearly eight years — up to 14 months.
Walker, a former youth pastor, teacher and girl’s soccer coach at Word of Life, was arrested last August and charged with aggravated indecent liberties with a child and two counts of criminal sodomy after police received what a Facebook tipster claimed was a taped admission from Walker about his involvement with the girl.
He pleaded guilty to amended charges in July.
SOURCE: AMY RENEE LEIKER