LARGO — The pastor of a St. Petersburg church pleaded guilty Friday in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court to sexual battery and promoting sexual performance of a child. The victim was a member of his congregation.
Bishop Evans Bacon, 60, of New Life Apostolic Tabernacle Church, 342 11th St. N, was sentenced to 364 days in the Pinellas County jail and five years of probation. He will be required to register as a sexual offender. Bacon, whose address is 1019 S Persimmon Ave., Sanford, cannot have unsupervised contact with minors or contact with the victim or her family.
His attorney, Richard L. Mamele, said Bacon had faced a maximum of 15 years on each of two counts. The pastor entered a "best interest'' plea, he said, "so that the healing process can begin for his family and young lady and her family and all the families who are members of his church.''
St. Petersburg police began investigating Bacon in 2008, after receiving an anonymous tip. Detective Joe Bross said the victim was 15 when the lewd and lascivious acts began and 17 when Bacon committed sexual battery. Bross said a half-dozen more women also accused Bacon of inappropriate conduct, but because they were 16 or older, the allegations did not rise to the level of a criminal offense.
Bross said he was surprised by Bacon's short sentence, but that the state attorney will try to accommodate a family's wish not to prolong their ordeal.
Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2283.