A registered sex offender who was the leader of a South Carolina church on Wednesday pleaded guilty to sex crimes against a child, according to WBTW 13 News.
Police charged 64-year-old pastor Rudolph Walls in May with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree against two children under the age of 16.
Walls had previously insisted he was not guilty of any crime — but this week he pled guilty to criminal sexual conduct with a minor and failure to register as a sex offender.
Judge Markley Dennis sentenced him to 15 years behind bars. The sentence is the maximum allowed under the law.
“Obviously, we agree with and are appreciative of the court’s imposing the maximum sentence,” prosecutor Shipp Daniel said. “This is a terrible case perpetrated by a man whose position as a pastor makes it that much more heinous. Unfortunately, 15 years is all he could get.”
Walls was convicted of indecent liberty with a minor in 1989. He was released from prison in 1997, and went on to become the leader of the Friendly Chapel Church in Dillon, South Carolina. He is listed in the sex offender registry of North Carolina, but he failed to register with the local sheriff’s department in South Carolina.
“I just looked up registered sex offenders in Dillon County, and he popped up in North Carolina, and that’s when I stopped going to the church,” a former member of his church told WMBF News in May.
Watch video from May, courtesy of WPDE ABC15, below: