Defense attorney: Pastor will plead guilty to sex abuse charge, - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Defense attorney: Pastor will plead guilty to sex abuse charge, church will close

(WMC-TV) - A Memphis COGIC pastor will plead guilty to a sexual battery charge and his church will shut down, according to his attorney.

Michael Bryant, pastor at Hour of Restoration COGIC in Memphis, was in general sessions court Thursday for what was supposed to be a bond reduction hearing.

Instead, defense attorney Art Horne says he and the prosecution worked out a plea agreement in a "criminal information" that will be brought before a judge in criminal court.

"The case is settled," said Bryant's defense attorney, Art Horne. "He's pleading guilty to sexual battery by an authority figure and the sentence will be six years at 30 percent. And we'll ask for probation."

"We're hoping that some good can come out of this, particularly getting this behind the family and allowing people some time to heal and move on," Horne continued.

Horne says Hour of Restoration COGIC, a small church with 27 members, will shut down for good as of December 31, 2013.

Bryant remains locked up at 201 Poplar on $1 million bond.

According to an affidavit of complaint, Bryant had been touching a 16-year-old inappropriately for the past two years. She told her mother, but instead of calling the police, her mother and Bryant decided to pray together over the matter in hopes of driving the thoughts out of his head.

If convicted as charged, Bryant could have faced between six and 15 years in prison.

Horne says Bryant pleading guilty may be what is best for everybody involved.

"We're hoping that some good can come out of this, particularly getting this behind the family and allowing people some time to heal and move on," Horne said.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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