Ex-pastor pleads guilty to rape, related crimes
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A former suburban New Orleans pastor faces 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to rape and other charges involving juvenile girls.
Fifty-eight-year-old Sherman R. Smith pleaded guilty to second-degree rape, aggravated incest and other charges in a deal that avoided a scheduled Monday trial. He had faced a first-degree rape charge carrying a possible life sentence.
Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office said in a news release the crimes happened between 1992 and 2000. Smith was arrested in November 2015, after a victim told New Orleans police about abuse that happened more than a decade earlier when she was 5.
Smith is the former pastor of Second Highway Baptist Church in Marrero.
The release said Monday's plea deal was approved by Smith's victims. Sentencing is scheduled July 17.