NEW BOSTON, Texas - A Texarkana pastor was sentenced Thursday by a Bowie County jury to five life sentences and 11 20-year terms for the sexual abuse of three women he molested when they were children.
Presiding 202nd District Judge John Tidwell ordered that Logan Wesley III, 56, serve the terms consecutively for a total of five life sentences plus 220 years. The jury also assessed three $10,000 fines for a total of $30,000.
The three victims, now 38, 32 and 34, testified that Wesley used his position as pastor of Trinity Temple Church of God In Christ on Washington Street in Texarkana, Ark., to prey on them and to conceal his misdeeds. One of the women is a close relative of Wesley's who came to live with him when she was 13 and continued to sexually assault her until she was about 20.
The second victim testified she was abused by Wesley from ages 9 to 12. The third testified that she was abused from age 13 into adulthood as well and that Wesley told her the abuse was "okay because he was a man of God."
Wesley was described as "the nightcrawler" by a fourth woman, now 43, who testified Thursday that she was molested in a different jurisdiction. That woman, a relative of Wesley's, said Wesley began touching her when she was about 4 years old and he was a teen.
A fifth woman, now 31, testified that she was about 17 and still in high school when Wesley, her pastor, began making sexual advances toward her. She told the jury that Wesley paid for her to have an abortion at a Shreveport, La., clinic and that he continued to pursue her even after she was married to someone else.
Under questioning by Texarkana lawyer Josh Potter, Wesley denied he ever touched any girl inappropriately and described the victims as crazy liars. When cross-examined by First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp, Wesley alleged that a recording of a phone call during which Wesley admits to the abuse and asks for mercy had been "spliced" and "edited."
Crisp and Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards asked the jury to sentence Wesley to the maximum after they returned guilty verdicts on all 16 counts presented to them. Two additional charges were abandoned by the state before jury deliberations.
Crisp urged the jury in her final remarks to give justice to the victims, some of whom waited more than 25 years to see Wesley in court. The prosecutors also pointed out the "collateral damage" suffered by members of Wesley's large family who attended the trial in support of him.
Crisp thanked the New Boston Independent School District which has allowed Bowie County to conduct two jury selections and Wesley's trial in the high school auditorium. The larger space allowed for social distancing needed because of the pandemic.
"The investigation, prosecution and the jury trial in these cases would not have been possible without the coordinated efforts of several law enforcement agencies and county departments," Crisp said.