DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A former Detroit church pastor has been sentenced to at least 40 years in prison for raping a young girl who had been a member of his congregation.

Former pastor of Abundant Life Church, 48-year-old Timothy Jackson maintained his innocence Tuesday and asked Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Callahan for mercy prior to his sentencing.

Callahan told Jackson the crimes in which he was convicted were “heinous” and “unspeakable.”

Jackson was found guilty last month of multiple counts of first-degree criminal sexual assault.

Authorities say the girl was 11 when the sexual assaults began at the church in 2009. She reported the rapes in August, 2010.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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