Former Shawnee Youth Pastor Sentenced for Inappropriate Texts

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SHAWNEE, Okla.-- Brian Burchfield walked out of the Pottawatomie County courthouse Wednesday afternoon in handcuffs.

He was sentenced to ten years probation with six months to be served in the county jail on four counts of soliciting sexual conduct or communication with a minor by use of technology.

The sentences will run concurrent, which means he will only spend six months behind bars.

He will also have to register as a sex offender when he gets out.

The texts went to four different teenage boys while Burchfield was the youth pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee.

The victims told police he would ask for pictures of them and talk about pornography and even suggested skinny dipping on two different occasions.

The judge told Burchfield this was an unusual circumstance that the parents of the victims would be satisfied with this sentence, but the Pottawatomie County District Attorney disagreed.

“It was testing. It was suggestive. It was highly inappropriate and it was criminal. But it hadn’t progressed to touching. We believe that he was grooming them for that but it hadn’t gotten to that point,” said Richard Smotherman.

“I feel real badly. He’s got a great family. He’s a good person. He had a difficult time physically and mentally and he just did some things that he shouldn’t have done,” said John Coyle III, Burchfield’s attorney.

Coyle said his client has been in therapy and will do more and that he’s expressed remorse for what he did.

“He’s very sorry about what happened, for the pain he caused all those other people and his own family,” said Coyle.

Smotherman says the sentence sends enough of a message that Burchfield abused his position of trust.

“Six months in jail, he’s a convicted felon and he’s going to have to register as a sex offender the rest of his life. That’s a pretty hefty price to pay for sending some texts,” said Smotherman. “For a man who knows God and has read about hell. Six months in the county jail, he’s going to see it, not read about it.”

Smotherman also said the victims’ parents did not want their teenage boys to have to testify about this in court.

He says they are ready to put it behind them.

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