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Ohio church ordered teen to apologize to youth pastor’s wife after he raped her, mom says

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An Ohio judge sentenced a “delusional” former youth pastor to 10 years in prison for sexually abusing a teenage member of the church where he served as a volunteer.

Brian Mitchell pleaded guilty Thursday to four counts of sexual battery, and a Cuyahoga County judge rejected his attorney’s recommendation for house arrest but did not impose the maximum 20-year prison term, reported the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The 31-year-old Mitchell, a father of three children under age 8, began sending text messages to the victim, then 16 years old, that quickly turned to complaints about his marriage.

The girl, who told the judge in a letter that she had sought spiritual guidance from Mitchell, said she was afraid to ask the volunteer to stop sending the texts because he was a respected and powerful member of Columbia Road Baptist Church in North Olmsted.

Church leaders heard from a congregant about the texts, which stopped for awhile, but Mitchell eventually resumed his messages and then kissed her after driving the girl home in August 2015.

The next time he drove her home, she said, he began sexually abusing her, and the abuse continued for another month.

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“I did not give him permission,” the girl told the court in her letter. “I clearly said ‘no, didn’t want to.’ I felt like he tricked me.”

The girl became lost interest in school, sports and work, and she was too depressed to get out of bed.

She told the court she still suffered from nightmares and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Church leaders spoke to Mitchell the day after learning of the sex abuse in November and then reported the case to police.

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The girl’s mother testified during the sentencing hearing that church leaders also told the family not to come back to church until her daughter had apologized to Mitchell’s wife.

The family stopped going to the church, and Mitchell’s attorney said he had not heard that until the hearing.

The defense attorney, Ian Friedman, said Mitchell had been caught up in “an adrenaline- and lust-filled situation” after whirlwind of secret text and social media messages, but the judge sternly lectured the former church volunteer.

“Your delusional excuse — that there were emotions and love involved — is troubling,” said Judge Patrick Corrigan. “That’s extremely delusional.”

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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Here are 4 winners and 9 losers from the first 2020 Democratic primary debate

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With ten candidates on stage Wednesday, the opening debate of the 2020 Democratic primary in Miami was a packed mess. And this was only the first course in a two-part event — 10 more candidates will debate on the following night.

A crowded field makes it difficult to stand out, and that means that even after a big night like a debate, the most likely result is that not much changes. But the debate was still significant, giving candidates the chance to exceed, meet, or fall below expectations for their performances.

Here's a list — necessarily subjective, of course — of the people who came out on the top when the dust was settled, and those who came out on the bottom.

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Here are 3 ways Julián Castro stood out in the first Democratic Debate

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There were many predictions going into the first Democratic debate on MSNBC, but no one predicted that Julián Castro would break out from the crowd.

Check out the top three ways Castro stood out from the crowd.

Immigration:

The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was the outright winner of the immigration section of the debate

It should "piss us all off," Castro said about the father and his little girl who were found face-down in the shores of the Rio Grande River this week. “It’s heartbreaking."

Castro is a second generation American who got into specifics on immigration policy, calling for an outright "Marshall Plan" style of action for Guatemala and Honduras. He joined with other Democrats calling for an end to President Donald Trump's family separation policy, but he then suggested ending the "metering" of legitimate asylum seekers.

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