SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A former pastor pleaded guilty on July 26 for taking indecent liberties with a child, according to court documents.
Suffolk police say 43-year-old Sean Edward Gaines of Hampton was arrested on Sept. 3, 2018 in connection to incidents that involved a teenage girl that allegedly happened earlier that year.
During a hearing in July, Gaines pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with a child by custodian (two counts) and carnal knowledge of a child – 13 to 15 years old. He was sentenced to two and a half years along with eight years probation time and given a $825 fine.
Gaines was a pastor at a Suffolk church off of Pruden Boulevard before he was charged, officials say.
During his original hearing, officials with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office revealed that Gaines took the victim to a hotel in Suffolk for sexual activity. After they checked in to the hotel, he allegedly touched the teen inappropriately and had sex with her. Prosecutor George Underwood said the victim was living with Gaines when this incident happened.
Underwood said they had a lot of evidence in this case, including the victim’s testimony, the hotel receipt and Gaines’ admission that he took a minor to a hotel.
10 On Your Side obtained a search warrant that states the victim told police she had been sending photos of herself in her bra and underwear to Gaines through Facebook Messenger after he asked for them.
The victim gave police permission to search through her phone, but told them she’d already deleted the messages because Gaines had told her to. The victim also told police that their relationship started in May of 2017 and continued through the following February.
Gaines also faces similar charges in Hampton from other incidents with the same victim. Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell says Gaines has been charged with six counts of carnal knowledge with a minor and one count of indecent liberties.
Bell says the victim was a member of the church Gaines was a pastor at and was considered his mentee.
Officials say back in 2007, Gaines was convicted of solicitation of prostitution in Newport News.