SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 60-year-old former Santa Ana church youth pastor pleaded guilty and was immediately sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.
The victim came forward to police in October 2018 and said Jonathan Lamont Jenkins started making “sexual advances toward her” in January 2018, according to police.
She was at a service at Starlight Baptist Church in March 2018 when she went to the bathroom, where Jenkins was waiting for her. The girl tried to get away, but he locked the door, choked her and physically restrained her while he sexually assaulted her, police said.
The girl did not tell anyone and continued going to the church, police said, but on Aug. 5, 2018, Jenkins mocked her about the sexual assault and warned her not to tell anyone or he would claim the sex was consensual.
Jenkins touched the victim’s buttocks in January 2018 and attempted to assault her again in April 2018, according to prosecutors. He also attempted to assault her in July 2018, prosecutors said.
Jenkins, of Riverside, pleaded guilty to a felony count of continuous sexual abuse of a child. As part of the plea deal, charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child, aggravated sexual assault of a child-oral copulation with force or fear, aggravated sexual assault of a child with foreign object and two counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor.
Jenkins was given credit for 1,848 days in custody, or about five years.
Jenkins initially faced up to 90 years to life in prison, authorities said when he was charged in 2018.
Jenkins had been a member of the Starlight Baptist Church at 1201 W. Second St. since 2012, and served as a youth pastor there for two years, police said.
Jenkins has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 1999 that includes robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and drug charges, police said. He has prior convictions for robbery in Los Angeles in 1983 and burglary in Orange County in 1986, according to prosecutors.
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