DeKalb minister remains defiant after 70-year sentence in molestation case

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/May 31, 2002
By Ben Smith

A Lithonia minister convicted of sexually molesting a 15-year-old boy was sentenced Thursday to 70 years in prison without parole, nearly twice as long as prosecutors asked for.

If the Rev. Troy Brown survives the sentence, he will be 100 when he's released from prison. Prosecutors, who asked for a 40-year sentence, were pleased, though caught off-guard by Superior Court Judge Cynthia Becker's decision.

"Your honor, I'm confused," said DeKalb Assistant District Attorney Marty First. "Is it the court's intent to sentence the defendant to 70 years?"

"Yes," Becker replied quietly.

Brown, who'd launched an aggressive media campaign through his parishioners to protest his innocence -- even after his conviction last week -- remained defiant.

"I did not touch [the victim] in any form or fashion," Brown, pastor of Greater Anointing Tabernacle, told the judge. "There was not one strand of evidence, not one that corroborated what was said against me. ... I've never in my life molested a child. I've never touched a child in a sexual manner."

Before his sentencing, Brown attempted to introduce new testimony to bolster his claim of a conspiracy against him. He told Becker that a juror had offered to discuss the panel's deliberations in exchange for money.

Brown's lawyer, Keith Adams, said the complaint about the juror would be introduced in his motion for a new trial.

Before his conviction last week, Brown had twice been arrested for sex offenses involving boys.

A 1997 sodomy charge against Brown in Buffalo, N.Y., was reduced to a lesser charge of child endangerment, to which he pleaded guilty.

In 2000, Brown was arrested on charges of molesting two teenage boys in DeKalb. The charges were dropped after prosecutors determined the alleged incidents took place when the boys were 16, above the age of consent.

The three alleged victims testified against Brown during the most recent trial, as well as two adult men who said they were sexually assaulted by the pastor.

Adams, who'd argued that the judge should have not allowed testimony of some of Brown's previous accusers, said in reference to the sentence that "I've never seen anything like this."

But prosecutor Rachelle Carnesale said, "I'm happy that the jury and the court put a stop to his abusive behavior, and I'm confident that, absent this trial and this verdict, he would never stop."

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