SGM-Mahaneygate—Judges Gives 40 Years to Child Sex Convict, Calling Him “Pathetic Human Being”
The judge was set to decide how much prison time to give Morales, who in the 1980s was a charismatic member of Covenant Life Church. Morales sang on the stage at services and helped lead youth Bible studies. He also sexually abused four teenage boys during the 1980s before leaving the area and settling in Las Vegas.
The three other victims also told their stories to the judge, in written statements.
“I trust no one,” wrote a 45-year-old. “Very painful,” wrote a 40-year-old. “My ability to love my wife as fully as I would like has been a huge after-effect,” wrote a 43-yar-old.
Last year, as news of the case broke, leaders released a statement saying they weren’t aware of the abuse until many years after it occurred. But in May of this year, testimony at one of Morales’s trials revealed that church leaders were told about three of the victims in the early 1990s, but did not call the police.
Prosecutor Amanda Michalski then detailed Morales’s crimes, noting their impact on the victims. (The Washington Post generally does not identify victims of sex crimes. In this case, Jeremy Cook gave permission to be identified.)
“The reason I am here today is so that he can never have the opportunity to hurt someone else,” Cook said.
In an interview after the hearing, Cook said one reason he has been so public about what happened to him is to let victims know that it is never too late for them to step forward. Over the past two years, he said, about a half-dozen people have told him that they have done just that.
“It shows you that even from something horrible, something good can come out,” Cook said.