A married pastor who allegedly sexually assaulted and impregnated a teenage girl under his custody has been sentenced to three to six years in prison.
Jacob Malone, 35, had taken the teenage victim into his home and was serving as her guardian at the time that the assaults reportedly began in 2014, according to People. Malone pleaded guilty to institutional sex assault, child endangerment, and corruption of minors.
The pastor also allegedly gave alcohol to the victim twice when she was 18.
"She admired me and trusted me, and I betrayed that," Malone said. He reportedly met the girl at an Arizona church when she was 12 years old. The victim was reportedly 17 years old in 2014, when Malone began to make sexual advances toward her.
Malone invited the girl to live with him, and began to sexually assault her while she was living in his home. The abuse reportedly started when Malone worked at Calvary Fellowship in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, which the teenager attended.
According to the victim, Malone raped her, and the two had sexual contact daily. Malone's attorney Evan Kelly has said that he did not use physical force to assault the girl, though the victim said that Malone had taken advantage of her "mentally, emotionally, and spiritually."
The teen reportedly gave birth to Malone's child in 2016.
Judge Jacqueline Cody rejected an earlier plea deal, saying that the punishment was too lenient, AP reports.
"This is one of the times when the court system fails," said the judge. "You are serving a sentence much lighter than the crime deserves."
Malone resigned from his position at Calvary as a pastor. He posted a video online where he appeared with his wife to speak about his resignation.
"We've come up against some major personal issues for me and family, issues for us together that are really pretty heavy and difficult," Malone said in the video.
According to Kelly, Malone and his wife remain married, and they are "not going through any divorce proceedings."
Kelly added that when Malone leaves prison he would like to "move back to Minnesota and help people, try to turn his life around and teach people how quickly you can fall."
In addition to his prison sentence, Malone will have to register as a sex offender for 15 years, and serve five months of probation after he is released from jail.
District Attorney Emily Provencher said that the victim was pleased that an additional year of jail time was added to Malone's minimum term.