Former pastor arrested in 2015 pleads guilty

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Michael Hill

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A former pastor arrested in 2015 pleaded guilty on Feb. 16 to two counts of attempted capital sexual battery. 

Michael Hill was sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by 10 years probation as a sexual offender. 

The terms of the probation include getting psychosexual counseling, having no unsupervised contact with children under 18 years of age and not possessing pornography. 

In January 2015, Hill was arrested in Volusia County on a Duval County warrant charging him with sexual battery more than 20 years ago. 

According to the arrest warrant, Hill sexually assaulted the victim in 1990, when she was 11 years old. She was the daughter of a friend of Hill’s. He came over to pick up some pet supplies, and when he realized she was alone, he came back and raped her, the warrant said.

She did not come forward with the accusations until 2002.

At the request of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the victim called Hill, who was living in Kansas, and that started a series of phone conversations. The victim asked Hill why he did what he did to her. He said he wanted to talk to her face to face, and continuously apologized, and never denied the allegations. He arranged to meet her in Daytona Beach, and that’s when he was arrested.

Hill was removed as pastor because of his arrest. The Kansas-Nebraska Conference of Seventh-day Adventists said the decision was not made in judgment of Hill, but in realization that the case meant a long absence for Hill, and the church needed an active pastor.

A full background check was done, and nothing found before his hires. The conference said that Hill had been in the Seventh-day Adventist ministry for 16 years, and there had “never been any accusation or insinuation” against him in that time.

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