CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — 2 and a half years is how long a former pastor will spend behind bars for sex crimes.
43-year-old Sean Gaines pleaded guilty last month to taking advantage of a teenage girl.
The victim’s family reached out to our sister station, 10 On Your Side, disappointed in what they call a slap on the wrist sentence.
The family says that Gaines was more than a pastor you see every Sunday morning at the podium. He became very close with this family in their darkest times, and took advantage of a teenage girl.
“People go there with burdens and problems and stuff and think that I can confide into this person. He violated all of that. Yeah it hurts, it’s piercing to your heart,” said Shoranda Ricks, the teenage victim’s older cousin.
Ricks said her teenage cousin is at the center of this scandal
She said just four years earlier, she and her family found comfort in him while they dealt with her teenage cousin’s mother’s cancer diagnosis and death.
“We all built a relationship with him because we had seen support from him. We saw that he was caring and was showing genuine love, that we thought was genuine love,” she said.
Court documents show Gaines was arrested in 2018 for sexually abusing a 14- year-old girl. In hearings, it was revealed Gaines took the young girl to a hotel room for sexual activity.
“For this to happen, it’s like a slap in the face, like how dare you, out of all people you ought to know better,” Ricks said.
But Shoranda said this is more personal to her because she too is a victim.
“When I was growing up and it was happening to me, I didn’t know where to go. I wanted to tell somebody, but I didn’t know how to tell anybody.”
She never wants anyone to feel hurt by the man ever again.
“He is a sick man, and I don’t think my cousin is the only one who has been victimized. If anybody else has been victimized by this man come forward, don’t be afraid, you know what I’m saying, because while he is in there, we need to get everybody that we can that he has done this to to come forward,” she pleaded.
She wants to prevent any future incidents.
“I don’t wish death on him, but I don’t believe that he needs to be out in civilization with people, because once a predator always a predator, ” she said.
Gaines also has 8 years of probation and was given an $825 fine. Sharonda is inviting anyone who might have been a victim of Gaines to reach out to her via Facebook at Shoranda D Ricks.