Church Youth Minister Pleads No Contest In Teen Sex Case

FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – A former assistant music and youth minister at a Coral Springs church will be sentenced later this year on charges that he had a sexual relationship with a 14-year old girl.

On Tuesday Russell Dion Lewis changed his plea to ‘no contest’ on three counts of sexual battery and one count of lewd and lascivious conduct.

“You understand you are giving up your rights to question the victim,” Broward Circuit Judge Sandra Perlman asked Lewis during the hearing.

“Yes,” he replied.

“You understand you are giving up your right to call witnesses,” asked Perlman.

“Yes, ma’am,” he replied.

Prosecutors said Lewis was cooperative in the investigation and that the evidence against him was overwhelming.

Lewis worked at Church by the Glades on the 400 block of Lakeview Drive. According to police, Lewis’ relationship with the girl, which lasted for five months, was consensual but under Florida law a 14-year-old cannot legally consent to a sexual relationship with an adult.

Police say all the encounters occurred on the church property.

Lewis was arrested in November 2009.  He could face more than 100 years in prison when he’s sentenced.

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