Ex-Maryland pastor sentenced to 90 days on sex offenses

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DUNDALK, Md – The former pastor of an independent, fundamentalist Baptist church in Maryland was sentenced to 90 days in jail Monday after he pleaded guilty to assault and sex offence charges.

Cameron Giovanelli, 42, who now lives in Orange Park, pleaded guilty in December to fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault charges as part of a deal that dropped charges including sexual abuse of a minor, news outlets reported.

In addition to jail time, Giovanelli will receive five years of supervised probation. Before the plea agreement, Giovanelli faced up to 78 years in prison if convicted of all 12 counts.

Giovanelli used his position of power at the Calvary Baptist Church in Dundalk to pressure the victim into sexual activity in 2007, prosecutors said. The victim used to babysit for his family and attended the church’s school. She reported the assault last year.

The victim was sitting in an English class taught by Giovanelli’s wife in January 2007 when Giovanelli pulled her out of class, took her took his office and kissed her, prosecutor Francis Pilarski said. Things escalated from there, with Pilarski noting that the victim was coerced by Giovanelli and his authority.

The victim spoke in court and posted her statement online.