Thursday, November 29, 2007

Predator in the Pulpit

Add this one to the long list of people who prey on kids who trust them.

A Broward minister was charged with sexual battery after he impregnated a teen congregant of a small neighborhood church, authorities said Wednesday.

Plantation police charged the Rev. Cory Cortezis Lewis, 33, with sexual battery on a victim between 12 and 18 by a custodian.

He was booked into Broward County jail Nov. 20 and bailed out the next day.

The church, at 2889 NW Sixth Ct., is the Fort Lauderdale-area branch of the Church Of God By Faith, in Jacksonville.

Lewis knew the teen her entire life, acting as both her minister and godfather, Plantation police spokesman Detective Phil Toman said. In 2006, he brought her to an empty house and a vacant business in Plantation, where he had sex with her on multiple occasions, Toman said.

Eventually, she got pregnant. At the time, she was 15.

“He was her godfather,” Toman said. ‘She referred to him as ‘Daddy.’ He was her minister and neighbor and friend of the family. He was trusted.”

Lewis wanted the girl to have an abortion, fearing the baby would damage his religious reputation.

As the victim’s pregnancy became obvious, Lewis confessed to the teen’s family he had had sex with her, but said the baby wasn’t his, according to court records.

He later confessed to the entire church congregation.

On top of all the issues of a guardian having sex with a minor, note that he wanted her to have an abortion to save his reputation.

“Disgust” doesn’t begin to cover it.