Former Sunday school teacher found guilty of raping girls at church gets 87 years in prison

Jonathan Young
Jonathan Young(WITN)
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 4:03 PM EDT
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BENSON, N.C. (WRAL) - A former Sunday school teacher from Johnston County was sentenced Monday to a minimum of 87 years in prison.

WRAL reports that a jury found Jonathan Young, 38, of Benson, guilty on multiple counts of rape, sexual offense, and indecent liberties with children.

According to the district attorney’s office, the crimes involved three children, and most took place at Firstborn Baptist Church in Benson. The incidents occurred between 2003 and 2014, and the youngest victim was 7 years old when she was molested, investigators said.

At Young’s trial, the jury heard testimony from two additional witnesses who were sexually abused as young children.

Girls who grew up at the church alleged years of sexual abuse by Young, misconduct that some former church members say church leaders knew about but did nothing to stop.

Church leaders told WRAL News in 2018 there was no coverup.

“I’m heartbroken by it all because it’s unbelievable,” said Pastor Durwood Young. “I hate it and I don’t know what else to say about it.”

Durwood Young said he first heard about the allegations in 2014 from the sheriff’s office, but no charges were filed at that time.

“The investigation was dropped as far as I know,” Durwood Young said. “That’s the way I understand it.”

The church leader described Jonathan Young as a “model employee.”

“I think you could go out here in the community and find people who were absolutely devastated,” Durwood Young said.

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