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Posted at 02:57 PM ET, 01/24/2012

Plea deal for Fairfax pastor accused of sex abuse

A Fairfax County pastor accused of molesting two boys in the 1990s has reached a plea deal with prosecutors in the cases, one of which was slated to go to trial Monday, according to court documents.

Under the agreement, Tommy R. Shelton Jr. 66, who served as a minister at the Community Church of God in the Dunn Loring area from 1995 to 2000, has entered what is known as Alford plea on four charges in one of the cases, according to court records. The charges in the second case will be dropped.

In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but recognizes that prosecutors have enough evidence against him to obtain a conviction.

The sides did not reach agreement on a sentence. Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Brett A. Kassabian is scheduled to sentence Shelton on Feb. 24, and Shelton could face up to five years in prison on each charge.

In 2008, two men came forward to Fairfax County police and alleged that Shelton had molested them in the mid-’90s.

One man accused Shelton of fondling, kissing and performing oral sex on him when he was a 14-year-old boy around 1995. The man had gone to Shelton for counseling and piano lessons and two of the alleged assaults occurred inside the church, the man testified at a preliminary hearing in May 2010.

A second man testified that Shelton would direct him into the the woods during bicycle rides and then fondle him. The man said the assaults ocurred in 1997, when he was 11 years old.

In July 2010, Shelton reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to two felony counts of taking indecent liberties with a child under his supervision. A judge later rejected that deal because it did not put the pastor behind bars.

At the time, Commonwealth’s Attorney Katherine E. Stott said she agreed to the deal because there was no forensic evidence, corroborating witnesses or confession, and Shelton would have witnesses testify positively about him.

When the judge rejected the deal, Shelton withdrew his guilty plea .

Under the new plea deal, Shelton entered Alford pleas on two counts of crimes against nature for having oral sex with one of the boys and two counts of sexually abusing a child that he had a supervisory relationship over, according to court records.

By  |  02:57 PM ET, 01/24/2012

Categories:  Fairfax, From the Courthouse

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