Pastor convicted of abusing teenage boy

May 26, 2007|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,sun reporter

The 40-year-old pastor of a Baltimore County church was found guilty in Howard County Circuit Court yesterday of two counts of sexually abusing a teenage boy he had been counseling. The pastor, Gerald Fitroy Griffith, was found not guilty on a third count.

Griffith, pastor and founder of Redemption Christian Fellowship Church in Woodlawn, was charged with sexual abuse of a minor at Columbia hotels in 2004 and 2005. He was convicted of two of the charges, but acquitted of a third, where no paper records of a room rental could be found, said Mary Murphy, senior assistant state's attorney.

Each count carries a penalty of four to nine years in prison.

The jury deliberated for just over four hours, according to the state's attorney's office.

Judge Diane O. Leasure denied requests by his attorneys that Griffith remain free on bond pending sentencing June 22. He was led away in handcuffs.

"We're very happy the victim has gotten his justice," prosecutor Lisa L. Broten said. The victim, now 18, testified for three hours Wednesday, but was not in court for the verdict, said Wayne Kirwan, a spokesman for State's Attorney Tim McCrone.

Charging documents said Griffith counseled the boy for two years starting in October 2003. The sexual assaults began in November 2003, when the boy was 14, at the church in Woodlawn, and continued in 2004 and 2005 at several hotels in Columbia, according to statements the youth gave to authorities.

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