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Former youth minister sentenced in boy's rape

SPRINGFIELD — A former youth minister was sentenced to eight years in prison yesterday after he pleaded no contest to charges that he raped one of his congregation's 13-year-old boys.

Anthony Spain, 31, of Dreamland Drive in Greenbrier, had been scheduled to go on trial Monday.

Circuit Judge Michael Jones asked Spain if he understood what his no contest plea meant.

''Yes, sir,'' Spain answered.

Before his arrest, Spain had worked two years as a youth pastor at the First Assembly of God Church, which was meeting at the Robertson County Senior Citizens Center while a new church building was under construction.

''I deeply regret what has taken place and apologize for my conduct,'' Spain said in a statement released by his attorney, Jeff Walker.

''I decided to not contest the charges brought against me in order to spare each family and friend any further hardship.

''I very much look forward to putting this behind me and preparing myself to become a productive contributor to society by being a true reflection of the God of grace in this world. My prayers have been, and will always remain, with all those involved.''

Spain was arrested last June after the victim in the case told his parents that he'd been assaulted by the youth minister while he spent the night at Spain's home.

Investigators say the victim told them that Spain fondled him and performed oral sex on him.

Spain must serve 100% of his sentence with the Tennessee Department of Correction, but could get as much as 15% knocked off that term for good behavior. He will be under community supervision for life upon his release from prison and will have to register as a sex offender.

Spain has been jailed in lieu of $75,000 bond since his arrest last year. He will be given credit for the 248 days he's been in jail.

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