(Memphis) A COGIC pastor charged with sexual battery will plead guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors, his attorney said.
Michael Bryant is accused of molesting a 16-year-old family member for two years.
The 48-year-old has been the pastor at Hour of Restoration COGIC in Hickory Hill for the past three years.
After the arrest, COGIC decided to close the church on December 31.
On Thursday, Bryant appeared in general sessions court to try to reduce his $1 million bond.
Instead, his attorney announced an agreement he said he worked out with the state.
“We felt like it was in the best interest of all parties to get this case over with, get it resolved, so he can move forward, so the alleged victim can move forward,” Horne said.
Bryant will plead guilty to Sexual Battery by an Authority Figure in exchange for a six-year sentence. After about a year and a half, Bryant will be up for parole.
Horne said he is going to ask the judge to skip jail time, and allow Bryant to spend the six years on probation.
“He has chosen the route to try to own up to what he’s done, move beyond it, and hopefully the courts will have some mercy and assist him in getting some help moving beyond this,” Horne said.
It could take up to three weeks before a judge reviews and signs off on the deal.
The alleged victim apparently told church and other family members about the abuse, but instead of calling police, they prayed the Lord would make it stop.
It’s up to the District Attorney’s office to determine whether to arrest the people who didn’t report the abuse.