- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) - A Brookings church is trying to cope with the conviction of a former pastor who sexually abused a girl.

Timothy Bariteau, 38, was sentenced this week to eight years in prison for having sexual contact with a child younger than 16 in the spring of 2014 when he was one of the pastors at Morningside Community Church in Brookings.

The church, now named Abundant Life, is providing support for everyone involved, the Rev. Joe Ganahl told the Capital Journal (https://bit.ly/1NzKPag ).

“We are trying to minister to Tim and his family and the girl and her family,” he said.

The congregation has met several times to discuss what Ganahl, the senior pastor, called “a very difficult time.”

“This was an isolated issue involving one guy, and it doesn’t reflect our whole church,” he said. “It’s been very hurtful to everyone.”

Bariteau was indicted last November and arrested in California, where he had been living. He was convicted in June after a Brookings County jury deliberated for about five hours.

Bariteau must serve at least half of his prison time before being eligible for parole because his crime was ruled one of violence. He was credited with about 10 months he’s already spent in prison.

The congregation is part of the Indiana-based Church of God, which is in the process of revoking Bariteau’s credentials to be a pastor, according to Ganahl.

“You never want to see anything like this,” he said. “It’s sad.”

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Information from: Pierre Capital Journal, https://www.capjournal.com


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