Pastor gets lenient sentence after church members send letters of support.
In a disturbing miscarriage of justice, Christopher Hutchinson, a youth pastor who repeatedly sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl, received only a 90 jail sentence for his crime, even though prosecutors had recommended a much lengthier prison sentence of at least four years.
Instead, Hutchinson, a Denver, Colorado youth pastor, received a 90-day jail sentence, was ordered to register as a sex offender, and given 20 years probation by Arapahoe County District Court Judge Natalie Chase.
Adding insult to injury, Judge Chase also gave Hutchinson credit for 66 days already served before sentencing, meaning he will actually only spend an additional couple of weeks in jail for his crime.
The Denver Post reports there were “fireworks” between the judge and prosecutors over the absurd sentence.
Shortly after the judge announced the sentence, District Attorney George Brauchler said:
At the end of the day – he got a pretty lenient sentence.
To say Hutchinson “got a pretty lenient sentence” is quite an understatement.
Last July a jury found Hutchinson guilty of one count of sexual assault on a child by a person of in a position of trust and one count of sexual assault on a child.
Fox 31 reports the original arrest affidavit details three encounters at local parks between Hutchinson and the victim. The third encounter describes the two laying on the grass when “he rolled on top of her and was straddling her with his hands beside her on the ground and his waist and lower body on her.” It also said that the victim felt his groin area on her.
Hutchinson met his victim while serving as youth pastor at South Fellowship Church in Littleton and was serving as youth pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Parker when he was arrested for his crime.
The 13-year-old girl’s father, who was a church elder at the time his daughter was sexually assaulted, asked for prison time for Hutchinson, who once had been a close family friend. The father told to the court:
How do I wrap my mind around Chris Hutchinson, a trusted friend who sexually assaulted my 13-year-old daughter? We have been hurt so severely by someone we held so closely.
The father also addressed the 48 church members who wrote letters in support of Hutchinson, and the dozens who sat behind him in support of Hutchinson in court, noting:
It’s not their daughter who was assaulted. They need to get over their denial and come to grips with what this man did and what he could have done to one of their daughters.
The father said the entire family has suffered isolation and depression and loss friends because of the assault.
Bottom line: 48 church members wrote letters defending this despicable pedophile, and dozens of church members supported him in court. Such behavior is a powerful testament to the toxic nature of organized religion. The fact that so many church members turned their backs on the young victim and her family is a sad and striking commentary, and only confirms the proposition that religion poisons everything.
With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.