Church member sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison for raping young parishioners

Posted: April 06, 2014

COURTNEY WILSON was once a prominent member of the Remnant Church of God 7th Day, on Ogontz Avenue, near 77th Street in Cedarbrook.

It was due to the position he held at the church that he came in contact with the teenage girls, whom he first befriended and later sexually assaulted.

By the time Philadelphia police arrested Wilson in December 2011, he had violated at least five girls, including a relative.

On Friday, Wilson, 58, was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in state prison for two counts of rape, three counts of corrupting the morals of a minor and related charges. Common Pleas Judge Denis Cohen handed down the sentence.

Wilson, of Brighton Street near Oxford Avenue in the Northeast, pleaded guilty last year to assaulting three of the victims. Charges were dropped related to the two other victims due to the statute of limitations, said Assistant District Attorney Jessalyn Gillum.

His victims are now in their 20s. They told police the sexual assaults began in 1997 and continued until 2005.

The women reported that Wilson often drove them to church and socialized with their families. The assaults took place in their homes, his home, in cars and in hotel rooms, they told authorities.

"These are some of the worst crimes that we can see as a society," Gillum said.

"This had a devastating impact on not only the individual victims, but their family as a whole and their relationship with the church community," she said. "It was very difficult, and it's something they still suffer from."

On Twitter: @MensahDean

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