Former pastor sentenced for sex with stepdaughter

A 38-year-old Dallas man was sentenced to nearly four years in prison Monday for having a sexual relationship with his teen-age stepdaughter, including while he was co-pastor of a Florida church.

Phillip Carpenter was sentenced to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty in August to a charge of enticing a minor to travel in interstate commerce to engage in illegal sexual activity.

U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsey, who called Carpenter a "sexual predator," also ordered him to serve three years of supervised release after the jail time, during which time he can have no access to minors.

Carpenter faced a maximum 10-year prison term and a $250,000 fine.

Prosecutors said Carpenter and his wife were co-pastors of a church in Pinellas County, Florida, when he started having sex with his step-daughter beginning when she was 15. She will be 17 next month. The church was not identified the church.

Carpenter and the girl kept the sexual relationship secret, but Carpenter and his wife separated last year over the accusations of impropriety between him and the girl, officials said, and Carpenter moved to Dallas.

Prosecutors said Carpenter maintained contact with the girl by calling her at school and by relaying messages through a third party.

Last fall, Child Protective Services removed the teen-ager from her mother's custody and placed her in a children's shelter in Pinellas County.

While there, the girl called Carpenter and asked her to let her come live with him. Carpenter agreed and arranged for her to fly to Dallas shortly after Thanksgiving of last year, on her 16th birthday, officials said.

Court records show the girl and Carpenter resumed their sexual arrangement, and she began living with him. He obtained false identification papers that indicated she was 21 and assisted her in obtaining employment at a restaurant-bar where he worked, introducing her to friends and co-workers as his girlfriend, officials said.

(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Last Updated: Nov 27, 2001

 Wednesday, January 29, 2003
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