An apology and a guilty plea from the former Benton music minister charged with sexual indecency with a minor. A judge sentenced David Pierce to ten years in prison. Prosecutors initially charged Pierce with 54 counts but dropped them to four.
Surrounded by family and friends David Pierce walked into a Saline County Courtroom a free man, he walked out in handcuffs and surrounded by deputies preparing to start a prison sentence after pleading guilty to sexual indecency with a minor. "He's got 20 years worth of sentences, some of them are running concurrently with each other so he is serving ten years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections," says Ken Casady Saline county Prosecuting Attorney.
Through his attorney Pierce issued an apology
. "I express my most sincere apologies to every person affected by my actions. It was never my intentions to hurt anyone," Mark Hampton reads.
According to the affidavit Pierce had boys expose themselves to him for his own sexual gratification at his home and even at First Baptist Church where he served as music minister.
He faced 54 counts but the prosecutor allowed him to plead guilty to just four counts. While the prosecutor claims Pierce's actions involved many victims over nearly two decades, the statute of limitations ran out on some of the cases. "I can tell you that the victims in this case across the board from young men to people that are in their 30's are still dealing with psychological issues," Casady said.
Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington is glad to see this case resolved. It's been especially difficult for him; Pennington is a member of First Baptist Church and knows Pierce. He's glad to see Pierce showing remorse. "He's apologetic not only to the church but to the victims and his family and as he stated there has to be forgiveness we can't be bitter," Pennington said.
The pastor of First Baptist Church also issued a statement Thursday expressing sadness over what's happened and asking for continued prayers as the victims and the congregation move on from this.
The counts Pierce pleaded guilty to include three boys. While in jail Pierce is required to complete a sex offender rehabilitation class and once out he'll have to register as a sex offender. He could come up for parole in a just over a year and a half.