A church pastor who sexually assaulted a teenage girl while he was the boss of a music studio after promising he could further her singing career has been jailed.
Mark Pearce, 42, attacked the girl when she was just 14 or 15 while they were alone in the recording studio he ran at the time.
The “talented singer” had visited MPM Studios in Walsall, West Mids., in 2002 after her mother paid for her to record an album.
The studio’s website claims to have worked with a number of reggae and rap stars including Apache Indian, Pras and Desmond Decker over the years.
A court heard Pearce groped the teen’s bottom and breasts and also touched himself inappropriately in front of her while the two of them were on their own.
The dad-of-two denied three sexual assaults and a count of indecency against a child and went on trial last month at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
But he was unanimously found guilty of by a jury following a three day trial and on Monday was jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Sentencing Judge Nicholas Webb told him: “You are a manipulative liar and you have abused your position of authority.
“You remain, in my judgement, a high risk of further offending. There is of course no alternative to a custodial sentence.”
The court heard Pearce later left the music industry to become a pastor at The New Testament Church of God in Bilston, West Mids.
He had twice been convicted of sexual assaults before he converted to Christianity and has previously signed on the sex offenders’ register in 1993 and 2002. .
During his trial prosecutor Samantha Powis said the assaults bore a “staggering similarity” to the previous convictions.
She said Pearce held himself up as “a devout man of God” yet chose not to swear on the Bible to give evidence, instead making a non-religious affirmation.
The new offences took place in 2002 but didn’t come to light until the victim spotted Pearce preaching, surrounded by young people.
She could not give exact dates but believed the offences had already taken place by the time she was 15.
Although she told police she had forgiven him the victim said she was worried about that he might assault more children.
The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court: “I didn’t tell him no, I just froze, I didn’t know what to do.”
Pearce, from Wolverhampton, denied touching the victim in any way, claiming his wife was always with him at the studio and also thought she was ‘about 16′.
The convictions in 1993 – five indecent assaults and a gross indecency with a child – occurred when Pearce was working as a teacher in a Wolverhampton school.
In December 2002 he was jailed for six indecent assaults, including one on a sick girl when he visited her in hospital.