State rests, defense calling witnesses in trial of former youth minister

ORANGE - Day two of testimony is under way in the sentencing of a former youth pastor who pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a child.

Joshua Luke McDonald, 37, of Bridge City, was indicted in February on six counts of aggravated sexual assault. He pleaded guilty in June, admitting to having sexual relations with two victims under the age of 17.

McDonald asked that he be sentenced by a jury.

The state has rested and the defense began its side Tuesday morning. McDonald's attorney told jurors about his client, saying, "in his short young life he's helped a lot of people but made a mistake."

Some supporters of McDonald cried as they heard testimony from a sex offender treatment counselor.

The counselor said McDonald was himself a victim of sexual abuse as a child. The counselor testified that McDonald was raped at age 10. He said McDonald was raped again at age 16 by a female teacher. The counselor said this is to blame for McDonald's boundary issues.

On Monday, a special victims investigator with the Orange County Sheriff's Office testified, saying that a victim came forward after a pregnancy scare. The investigator said one of the victims told her she had sex with McDonald over 100 times in 2 years and said she felt, "emotionally blackmailed."

Two teachers who taught and mentored both victims testified. Both teachers said when they learned what was happening, it explained why the victims were having so many problems.

McDonald faces a punishment of from 5 years probation or up to 20 years in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000 on each count.


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