A former pastor at a Pearl River County church is facing jail time after pleading guilty to two sex crime charges in Hancock County.
The Sea Coast Echo reports that David Matthew Thorne, 35, of Picayune, on Monday pleaded guilty in Hancock County Circuit Court to one count of sexual battery and one count of touching a child for lustful purposes. He will be sentenced Sept. 25.
Thorne was arrested in March 2016 for molesting a 15-year-old girl in a church van while he was the youth pastor at Goodyear Baptist Church in Picayune.
He was also arrested on a charge of sexual battery, his third sex crime charge, in Pearl River County less than 24 hours after his arrest in Hancock County. The alleged crimes came under investigation after the child’s parents notified law enforcement officials.
Hancock County sheriff’s Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan told the Sun Herald the child was first abused Jan. 31, 2016, in Hancock County.
Thorne was relieved of his duties at Goodyear Baptist Church after his arrest.