Former church youth leader sentenced for sexual relationship with parishioner

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A former Blackford County church youth leader has been sentenced to eight years for having a sexual relationship with a teenage church member.

A judge sentenced Joseph Pennington, 33, Monday.

Pennington was formerly a part-time director of youth ministries at the Hartford Wesleyan Church in Hartford City, Ind.

The church’s senior pastor, Rev. Tom Parsons, said Pennington was not ordained but was taking classes through the FLAME program, a course designed to help adult ministerial students to prepare for ministry in the local church.

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