A Dauphin County church and its pastor accused of a mock abduction pleaded no contest today to charges of false imprisonment and simple assault.
Glad Tidings Assembly of God youth pastor Andrew Jordan will enter into a rehabilitation program for first-time offenders. Once he completes the program, he will have a clean slate. The church will pay a $10,000 fine.
This incident happened last March and, at one time, the church said it was to teach kids about persecuted Christians. Glad Tidings claims that the kids were told in advance that the incident was pretend, but some children say it was too real.
The simple assault charge was brought because one girl says she suffered a bruise after being blindfolded, bound and put in a van.
Her lawyer Christopher Marzzacco said her family now looks forward to putting this incident behind them.
"The victim and her family are relieved this criminal matter has been resolved. They would like to thank Detective Applebee and Fran Chardo for their work to bring those responsible for this outrageous behavior to justice," Marzzacco said. "They hope this deters the church from engaging in future irresponsible behavior that is harmful to others, especially children."
Marzzacco would not comment on any civil action that they might take in the future.
Prosecutor Fran Chardo says he's happy with the outcome of the case and they think everyone has learned their lesson.
"We wanted to make sure the people understand that you need parental consent, consent from the child, before you do exercises such as this," he said. "But I'm certain that this church and the people that participated in it have learned a lesson and there's not going to be a recurrence."
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