A volunteer youth pastor was sentenced to life in prison in Texas this week for sexually assaulting multiple teens at his church, reports the Houston Chronicle.
Dell Ivan Godkin, 48, was found guilty of sexually abusing one victim beginning when she was 13-years-old, and continuing until she was 17, by telling her God approved of what they were doing.
"He would say lots of things about God being OK with it," explained prosecutor Monica Cooper, adding that Godkin would cite passages from the Bible to explain the roles of men and women to his victims.
In the case of the 13-year-old, he promised to stop molesting her by making a "deal" before she turned 17 on the condition she tell no one what had happened.
According to the prosecutor, members of the church were stunned by Godkin's actions and described him as a good Christian.
"People were shocked when they heard that that's how he controlled both of his victims (by quoting Scripture)," Cooper said. "He's the scariest kind of child predator because he's the kind that is sitting next to you in church, and he seems like the nicest guy."
During the punishment phase of the trial, Godkin's ex-wife took the stand and stated that he had beaten her repeatedly during their tumultuous 12-year-marriage and that she had informed the pastor of the church to no avail.
"One of the assaults occurred after she had gone to their pastor at church seeking help," the district attorney's office said in a statement. "By the time she arrived home, Godkin knew she had spoken to the pastor and beat her because of it."
Although Godkin was given a life sentence, he will be eligible for parole in 2046 when he will turn 78.