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Ex-minister pleads guilty to rape charges
Jun 10, 2005 12:00 am
June 9, 2005
A one-time Lebanon minister will spend six months behind bars after pleading guilty to two counts of statutory rape in Williamson County Criminal Court, officials say.
Nathaniel Dobson, former senior pastor at Lebanon's New Shiloh Baptist Church, was charged in March 2004 after allegedly admitting to Franklin Police Department investigators he engaged in sex with two girls ages 14 and 15.
On Tuesday Dobson pleaded guilty to two counts of statutory rape and was sentenced to one year on each charge. The two sentences are to run concurrently, according to court clerks.
As part of his plea agreement, Dobson must spend six months behind bars and will then be placed on supervised probation for the remainder of his sentence.
In addition, a judge ordered Dobson to undergo a "psychosexual evaluation," banned him from any further contact with the victims, ordered him to stay away from minors without other adults present and required he register as a sex offender with the state.
Dobson – who will do his time in the Williamson County Workhouse – is to report to begin serving his sentence on June 15, court clerks said.
At the time of his arrest, authorities said the two victims voluntarily came forward to make the allegation against Dobson, claiming they both had sexual contact with him at a Williamson County motel.
Authorities said Dobson later gave a statement admitting the encounter.
Dobson was briefly considered a fugitive from justice by Franklin authorities when he failed to surrender after being indicted on the charges. He remained in jail under $50,000 after turning himself in, officials said.
Dobson spent 19 years as senior pastor at New Shiloh Baptist prior to his arrest. Church leaders have declined to discuss the case.
Senior Staff Writer Brooks Franklin can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 14 or by e-mail at email@example.com.