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Ex-youth pastor admits sexual misconduct with teen

HARTFORD CITY, Ind. – The former youth pastor at a northeastern Indiana church has been sentenced to eight years in prison for sexual relationship with a teenage church member.

Thirty-three-year-old Joseph Pennington of Hartford City pleaded guilty during Monday’s court hearing to felony sexual misconduct charges.

Authorities say he committed sex acts with the 15-year-old girl while he was the part-time director of youth ministries at Hartford City Wesleyan Church in 2010 and 2011.

The Star Press reports Pennington apologized in court for his actions.

Blackford County Judge Dean Young called Pennington’s actions “heinous” and said he wanted to sentence him to a longer sentence than allowed under his plea agreement.

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