TEXARKANSA, Ark. — A pastor in southwestern Arkansas has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing two teen girls he met in church.

David Wayne Farren, 42, first confessed to abusing the victims during an interview with police in 2016, the Texarkana Gazette reported. The victims, who are now in their 20s, reported Farren in 2016 after one of the young women feared the pastor was grooming another victim.

Judge Carlton Jones called the case the case a “disheartening circumstance.”

“I have been serving the state of Arkansas for over 20 years, and every day, I wake up and think the best possible thing I could do is resolve some of our country’s ills. Today, I just don’t know,” Jones said. “Prison is significant to the criminal justice system. Some days that’s all we can do.”

Farren pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault and a misdemeanor charge of violating mandatory reporting requirements. He’ll have to register as a sex offender upon release from prison.

“This was a difficult day for everyone involved,” said Jason Horton, Farren’s attorney. “Ultimately, David chose to accept responsibility for his actions, which will hopefully bring some form of closure to all of those affected by this case.”

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell said the victims approved of the plea agreement, which spared them from testifying in court.

“I am thankful his victims were spared the necessity of a trial,” Mitchell said. “I hope this closure can begin their healing process.”


Information from: Texarkana Gazette, http://www.texarkanagazette.com