FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Former North Texas pastor James Virtue Robinson was sentenced by a judge to 10 years in prison Wednesday after prosecutors sought the revocation of the probation term he was granted in 2008, according to the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office.
In 2008, Robinson pleaded guilty to Sexual Assault of a Child under 17, for an improper sexual relationship with a 15-year-old parishioner. He received 10 years’ probation, and was required to register as a sex offender for life.
Among the terms of his probation, it was required that Robinson not be in the unchaperoned company of children, and he was strictly restricted from participating in church services or other activities that would place him in the company of children.
According to a news release from the Tarrant County Criminal DA’s Office, prosecutors received a tip from a parishioner in Robinson’s new church this year that he was violating his restrictions, and prosecutors filed a motion to revoke his probation.
A hearing was held this week at which Robinson pled true to 8 instances of probation violations, including being unchaperoned with children parishioners. He was attending regular church services, and even serving in the church leadership.
Testimony also included evidence that Robinson had sought out ways to manipulate the testing procedures that were part of his sex offender rehabilitation program.
After hearing evidence and arguments from both sides, Judge David Hagerman revoked Robinson’s probation term and sentenced him to serve 10 years in prison for his 2008 conviction.
“The most terrifying aspect of this Defendant is his ability to convince people to follow him regardless of his actions,” said prosecutor Kim D’Avignon. “I wish he were unique, but we are all now more aware of the predators that lurk in places like churches, schools, and youth organizations. Let this sentence send a message that Tarrant County is watching.”