Law catches up with US pastor who sexually assaulted teenage church member

(Photo: REUTERS / Alessandro Bianchi)Copies of a pastoral letter from Pope Benedict XVI to Catholics in Ireland dealing with a child sex abuse scandal, are seen at the Vatican March 20, 2010. The Pope apologised on Saturday to victims of child sex abuse by Irish clergy in this unprecedented letter which addressed the abuse of minors in Ireland and said he was willing meet victims to acknowledge their suffering personally.

For pastors who abuse children the day of reckoning can arrive even if they think they have got away with their crimes.

A pastor from New Albany, Ohio has been found guilty of sodomizing a 14-year old church member in 2010.

Isrom Johnson, pastor at Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church, faced three counts of third degree sodomy, each carrying a one to five year sentence.

The jury recommended Judge Audra Eckerle sentence Johnson to 15 years, The Courier-Journal reported on October 30 .

The victim, now 18, testified that he waited two years to tell anyone that his pastor abused him because of fear that doing so would jeopardize the relationship of his family with the church.

His mother was a deaconess, his sister was part of the worship team, and his grandmother was a church usher.

"I refused to tell [my mom], so I kept going," the teenager said. "I was scared about what was going to happen."

According to the teen, Johnson asked him to clean his apartment in the spring of 2010.

He was then told that he could lie on the pastor's bed. Johnson woke the teen up, undressed themselves, and started his sexual acts. He revealed that later that spring, he and the pastor would exchange oral sex in between afternoon services.

The teen also testified that the pastor told him to keep everything to himself.

After keeping the secret for two years, the teen finally told his parents in summer 2012 after they discovered gay pornographic materials in his possession.

"He doesn't want his parents to realize he's gay, so guess what, Isrom Johnson is the perfect person to use as a scapegoat," defense attorney Charles Hagan said in his closing argument.

Prosecutor Alicia Gomez argued the case was about an abuse of trust and not on the victim's sexual orientation or his apparent cooperation during the abuse.

"It's statutory because the child cannot consent. The 31-year-old at that table knew better," the prosecutor said.

Johnson became the pastor of Prince of Peace in 2005. Prince of Peace, founded in 1970, was originally located in Louisville before it moved to New Albany.

In 2004, Johnson was charged with 16 counts of sex crimes against minors. A grand jury dismissed the charges in February 2005.

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