Ex-pastor sentenced to 18 years in child sex abuse case

July 28, 2018 - 2:30 pm

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP) — A former New Jersey pastor who co-founded a Christian music festival has been sentenced to 18 years in prison in a child sex abuse case.

Seventy-five-year-old Harry Thomas is the former pastor of Come Alive New Testament Church in Medford and co-founder of the Creation Festival, billed as the country's largest Christian music festival. He failed in a bid to withdraw his guilty plea in sexual assaults and other crimes involving five minors and was sentenced Friday.

Burlington County assistant prosecutor Stephen Eife calls Thomas "a devil in disguise."

Thomas had acknowledged sexually assaulting a 9-year-old, having sexual contact with three girls ages 7 to 9 and exposing himself to a girl. He wept Friday while expressing remorse and confusion about his crimes.

Defense attorney Robin Lord cited Thomas' age, health problems and ministry work.

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