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Ex-Tulsa megachurch worker gets 55-year-prison term

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 12, 2012 at 11:45 a.m.

— A former janitor at a Tulsa megachurch engulfed in a sex-abuse scandal was sentenced to 55 years in prison Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl in the church’s stairwell.

Chris Denman also was sentenced to 5 years of probation and a $12,000 fine.

Denman pleaded guilty in October to first-degree rape, forcible oral sodomy of a child, lewd molestation, making a lewd proposal to a child and two counts of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime.

He did not have a plea agreement with prosecutors and had faced up to life in prison.

Denman was accused in the August rape of a girl on the campus of Victory Christian Center, a worldwide ministry in south Tulsa that has 17,000 members. Denman was also charged with molesting a 15-year-old girl and making a lewd proposal to a 12-year-old girl.

Denman spoke briefly at Wednesday’s sentencing, quoting Bible verses and saying that he wanted to go to prison. At the hearing, prosecutors said Denman was arrogant and had used religion and the safety of the Victory Christian Center to prey on young girls.

A second former church employee, Israel Castillo, awaits trial on a charge of making a lewd or indecent proposal to a child. Prosecutors allege that Castillo sent explicit Facebook messages to a 14-year-old girl he had known for at least two years.

Five employees of the church, including the son and daughter-in-law of Victory head pastor Sharon Daugherty, also face misdemeanor charges. They’re accused of waiting two weeks to report the alleged rape of the 13-year-old girl by Denman.

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