After being found guilty of sexual assault on a child – a child who was under his care at his church, Denver youth pastor Christopher Hutchinson will spend only 90 days in jail.
According to the Denver Post, the 13-year-old unidentified girl told a packed courtroom about how she was considering suicide after Hutchinson “violated her trust and crushed her spirit.”
“He never punched me and he never hit me,” the girl said. “But he broke me. As a person I trusted, he shattered what safety was.”
After an hour-long court hearing that featured emotional testimony, fireworks between a judge and prosecutors over sentencing, and a courtroom packed with church members split over the case, Christopher Hutchinson, 37, was sentenced to 20 years of probation as a sex offender. He also received a 90-day jail sentence and was ordered to register as a sex offender by Arapahoe County District Court Judge Natalie Chase.
Hutchinson was found guilty this July of one count of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and another count of sexual assault on a child.
The girl reportedly had sought Hutchinson’s counsel at South Fellowship Church in Littleton after a spring break trip where a fight with her mother caused her to fall into a depression. Even after he had moved to another church, Hutchinson maintained a relationship with the girl.
The two met on at least three occasions at parks, and Hutchinson sexually touched the girl by reaching under her sweatshirt and touching her bra, holding her between his legs to gaze at stars and finally by “snuggling with her for 10 minutes” and rolling on top of her and pressing his genitals into her hip, according to court testimony and an arrest affidavit.
After the third and final encounter, the girl finally called police.
The girl’s father, who was also a church elder and a higher up in the youth ministry, asked for prison time for Hutchinson who had also been a close family friend.
“How do I wrap my mind around Chris Hutchinson, a trusted friend who sexually assaulted my 13-year-old daughter?” the father said. “We have been hurt so severely by someone we held so closely.”