Former pastor found guilty of aggravated sexual battery

John T. Vine

A Metro jury found former pastor John T. Vine guilty late Monday on two counts of aggravated sexual battery, and one count of solicitation of a minor.

For Lawshawn Smith, whose daughter was the 11-year-old victim, it was a verdict that was a long time coming.

"It was a long time, for years we've been waiting, it's been put off, we give God all the praise for allowing this day to come,"said Smith

Smith told Channel 4 News that her daughter, who is now 15 years old, still suffers the emotional scars four years later.

"She's doing OK, at times she has her downfalls, but she is a strong young lady," said Smith.

Smith befriended Vine at Lake Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville. That friendship continued, when Vine became pastor of his own church, United Community Church in North Nashville.

Lake Providence pastor Reverend Bruce Maxwell said Vine abused his position as a pastor by gaining the trust of Smith and her daughter, while having a hidden agenda.

'Lashawn began referring to him (Vine) as 'Dad,' and the children were calling him 'Grandfather,'" said Maxwell.

Even though the charges surfaced in 2008, Vine continued as pastor of Faith United Church until 2010.

Maxwell feels there may be other victims.

"I believe in my heart that there are others out there, whose stories might not be told," said Maxwell.

Copyright 2012 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Anchor/Reporter

Alan Frio is the anchor of News4's evening newscasts on Saturdays and Sundays.

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