NEW BOSTON, Texas -- A Texarkana pastor was sentenced to five life sentences and 11 20-year terms by a Bowie County jury Thursday for the sexual abuse of three women he molested when they were children.
Presiding 202nd District Judge John Tidwell ordered Logan Wesley III, 56, serve the terms consecutively for a total of five life sentences plus 220 years. The jury also assessed three $10,000 fines for a total of $30,000.
The three victims -- now 38, 34 and 32 -- testified Wesley used his position as pastor of Trinity Temple Church of God In Christ on Washington Street in Texarkana, Ark., to prey on them and to conceal his misdeeds. One of the woman is a close relative of Wesley's who came to live with him when she was 13. She said Wesley continued to sexually assault her until she was about 20.
The second victim testified she was abused by Wesley from ages 9 to 12. The third testified she was abused from age 13 into adulthood, and Wesley told her the abuse was "OK because he was a man of God."
Wesley was described as "the nightcrawler" by a fourth woman, now 43, who testified Thursday she was molested in a different jurisdiction. That woman, a relative of Wesley's, said he began touching her when she was about 4 years old and he was a teen.
A fifth woman, now 31, testified she was about 17 and in high school when Wesley, her pastor, began making sexual advances. She told the jury Wesley paid for her to have an abortion at a Shreveport, La., clinic and he continued to pursue her even after she was married.
Under questioning by Texarkana lawyer Josh Potter, Wesley denied he ever touched any girl inappropriately and described the victims as liars. When cross-examined by First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp, Wesley said a recording of a phone call during which Wesley admits to the abuse and asks for mercy had been "spliced" and "edited."
"During his testimony, Logan Wesley denied sexually assaulting any of the five women who testified he raped them as minors," Crisp said. "Despite all of the evidence presented against him, Wesley continued to demonstrate extraordinary denial, which did not serve him well with the jury."
Crisp and Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards asked the jury to sentence Wesley to the maximum after they returned guilty verdicts on all 16 counts. Two additional charges were abandoned by the state before jury deliberation.
Crisp urged the jury in her final remarks to give justice to the victims, some of whom waited more than 25 years to see Wesley in court. Prosecutors also pointed out the "collateral damage" suffered by members of Wesley's large family who attended the trial in support of him.
Richards spoke of the courage it took for the victims to report Wesley's abuse.
"The bravery of these women in coming forward and testifying was inspiring," Richards said. "Thanks to the jury's verdict, Logan Wesley will no longer be able to abuse and manipulate children, and the victims can move forward with their lives."