Watch CBSN Live

Ex-NYC youth minister gets 22 years in prison for sexually abusing girls

Prosecutors say former youth minister Jeremy Fulton sexually abused girls who attended programs at New York City's Mariners' Temple Baptist Church, pictured above

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - A former youth minister who admitted to sexually abusing five girls who attended his New York City church has been sentenced to 22 years in prison.

In April, Jeremy Fulton, who prosecutors say  helped run after-school and summer camp programs at Mariners' Temple Baptist Church, pleaded guilty to rape. He later tried to take back his guilty plea and said he admitted things he didn't do because he received bad legal advice. He claimed some of the girls had told other people the allegations against him were false.

Fulton declined to speak at his sentencing Tuesday. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement that Fulton "used his position of authority and respect as a member of the clergy to win the trust of parents and gain access to children for the purpose of sexually abusing these girls," who were 10 to 16 when abused.

Two of the girls' mothers told the judge that Fulton had abused the trust of them and their daughters.

One mother told Fulton at his sentencing that she had treated him "like a brother." She said, "I trusted my most prized possession in your hands, my daughter, and you stole her innocence."

Prosecutors said Fulton, 29, abused some of the children at the downtown Manhattan church.

A judge rejected Fulton's bid to rescind his guilty plea. His lawyer, Robert Georges, said Fulton plans to appeal.