FAIRBANKS — A former Fairbanks pastor was sentenced to more than eight years in prison for having sex with a teenage girl who was a member of the congregation at his church.
Shawn Anthony Justice, 33, was convicted of eight counts of second-degree child sexual abuse after a jury trial last November, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. He said in a hearing last month that he plans to appeal the conviction. He chose not to speak at Thursday’s sentencing.
Justice met the victim when he was pastor of Corinthian Baptist Church in 2007. The girl testified that he began sending her sexual text messages the following year. Her father said he and his wife told the pastor to keep away from their daughter, and the family withdrew from the church and monitored the girl’s phone and computer usage. But, he said, she sneaked out of the house in 2009 and rode her bike to Justice’s apartment to have sex.
The victim spoke again at the sentencing, saying she often wonders what her life would have been like had she not met Justice. She said she will always be scarred by the experience, but that she will use it to help others.
Justice had a similar sexual relationship with another teenager when he was 24 and working as a musical director of a church in Virginia, the News-Miner reported. In that case, Justice was sentenced to take classes about appropriate relationships but received no jail time.