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TX Pastor Sentenced to 84 Years for Indecency With Children

Ronnie Killingsworth found guilty after brief deliberation by jury.

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A pastor in Wichita Falls, Texas, has been found guilty on six charges of indecency with a child by contact.

Ronnie Killingsworth / Video screenshot via KFDX

The jury deliberated less than an hour before finding Ronnie Killingsworth, the 79-year-old pastor of Rephidim Church, guilty, the Wichita Falls Times Record News reported.

Killingsworth elected to have the jury impose his punishment, who sentenced him to 84 years in prison and $60,000 in fines, KFDX reported.

The first four prison terms — totaling 42 years — are to be served concurrently with the sentences for counts 5 and 6 to be served consecutively after the conclusion of the first terms.

According to the indictment, Killingsworth committed the crimes against three female victims under the age of 17 from 2000 to 2011.

The victims took the stand during the trial to testify about Killingsworth’s actions.

The first victim claimed he touched her inappropriately when she was five years old, but she never told her mother because she was embarrassed.

A second victim told the jury that Killingsworth had touched her inappropriately, shown her pornographic images, and had tried to kiss her.

A third victim said Killingsworth took her in his office when she was 11 years old, yelled at her about her behavior, and touched her sexually. When she reported the incident to her mother, she said her mother slapped her across the face.

Killingsworth testified in his own defense, denying the allegations. Killingsworth’s wife Linda also took the stand, calling the allegations “ridiculous” and claiming that the only girls ever in Killingsworth’s office were the couple’s daughter and granddaughter.

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According to media reports, a large portion of the testimony during the trial related to the church’s doctrine and practices, including teachings about the “rapture” and a practice of “separation” from those who chose to leave the church.

Apparently, the couple no longer has contact with their daughter, who identifies as gay. “The Bible is the highest priority. We aren’t willing to compromise our priorities,” Linda Killingsworth said of the separation from their daughter.

The church’s finances also came up during the trial. Prosecutor Bill Vasser noted that Rephidim Church had $1.2 million in cash in 2018, and Killingsworth received a $280,000 bonus in a recent year.

Vasser and his fellow prosecutor Dayve Jo Estes are from Tarrant County. They were brought in to conduct the trial in an effort to avoid a possible conflict of interest—the Killingsworths’ son, Allen, is a detective in the Wichita Falls Police Department.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Why does MinistryWatch report on sex crimes? These stories are tough to read and sometimes even tougher to report, but we think they are vital to our mission to bring transparency, accountability, and credibility to the evangelical church. To read more about why and how we report these stories, read “Why MinistryWatch Reports On Sex Crimes.” You can find that story here.

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a freelance writer who holds a Juris Doctorate from Baylor University. She has home schooled her three children and is happily married to her husband of 25 years.