A Lincoln judge sentenced a former First-Plymouth Church youth group leader to a year in jail for kissing and propositioning a 12-year-old boy in a church bathroom in 2017.
Taylor T. Martin, 23, pleaded no contest to debauching a minor, which is a misdemeanor.
His attorney, Justin Kalemkiarian, argued for probation, calling what happened a "one-time problem" caused partially by a lifetime of abuse and mental health issues.
"He knows what he did was wrong," the attorney said, adding that Martin has been in counseling since October.
Then, Martin told Lancaster County District Judge Lori Maret that he wanted to tell everyone he was sorry, calling what happened the worst thing he's done in his life.
"It's something I'm super ashamed of," he said.
The allegation came to light a year ago, when the boy told a therapist Martin had followed him to a church bathroom one night during a youth group session.
The boy said Martin grabbed him by the sides, kissed him and asked if he could perform a sex act on the boy.
The boy said no, then left.
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At sentencing, Deputy Lancaster County Attorney Jessica Murphy said while there was no sexual contact between Martin and the boy, it had happened at a church and Martin had been in a position of trust.
The judge took issue with Murphy's characterization.
"I think that's sexual contact," Maret said.
She said she didn't know why the state reduced the charges from attempted sexual assault and child abuse, felonies that could have gotten him up to 23 years in prison if he'd been convicted.
Maret said the child had confided in Martin and Martin took advantage of that "and used it for your own personal pleasure."
She said regardless of what happened to Martin before, he knew the difference between right and wrong and abused a position of trust.
"People who send their children to Sunday School trust that their children will be safe. People can't do that anymore," she said. "And that's unfortunate."
Then, Maret sentenced Martin to the most she could, a year in the Lancaster County jail. With credit for good time, he will have to serve a little more than six months.