Bishop Earl Paulk pleaded guilty to felony perjury in Cobb Superior Court Wednesday.
Judge Frank R. Cox, chief judge of Magistrate Court, sitting in as assisting Superior Court judge, said he fined Paulk $1,000 and put him on probation for 10 years. He ordered Paulk to pay $32 a month in probation fees.
Paulk, formerly a prominent minister, was charged with perjury for lying during a deposition last year in a sexual misconduct lawsuit against him. He turned himself into Cobb County authorities at 8 p.m. Tuesday and was sentenced about 18 hours later.
Cox said District Attorney Pat Head and Paulk's attorney arranged the sequence of legal events.
Louis Levenson, the attorney for the couple suing Paulk, said the plea should serve as a warning.
"I hope that people will take a page out of this book and see that whatever their religious beliefs or philosophical beliefs that there is no excuse for speaking untruthfully in court," he said.
Levenson represents Bobby and Mona Brewer, former staff members at what was known as Chapel Hill Harvester Church, which Paulk built into a nationally known ministry. Their suit claims Paulk coerced Mona Brewer into a sexual relationship and used his influence to hide that and other improprieties.
"Earl Paulk was the architect of an entire scheme to protect the kingdom," Levenson said.
He defined 'kingdom' as the church and system of influence Paulk built.
In a deposition taken in the suit, Paulk said Mona Brewer was the only woman he had sex with outside of marriage. A DNA test last year showed Paulk fathered a child by the wife of his brother, the Rev. Don Paulk. That discovery led to the perjury charge.
Paulk claimed in the past that Brewer initiated the relationship.
A staff member at the church referred calls to Joel Pugh, Paulk's criminal defense attorney.
Pugh did not return calls.
Paulk's religious celebrity peaked in the 1980s and 1990s with TV appearances and more than 10,000 church members. He was nationally influential among independent charismatic churches.
His fame turned to infamy as he faced a series of allegations of sexual misconduct with many women. Though he no longer leads the church, now called the Cathedral at Chapel Hill. He still participates, speaking briefly. Attendance has dropped dramatically.
The Rev. D.E. Paulk, the Bishop's son by his sister in law, leads the congregation and speaks openly about his familial and church problems and about forgiveness.