SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WYFF) – A pastor who pleaded guilty to child sex charges will spend the next decade in prison.
The victim says she became pregnant twice by 32-year-old Phillip Buckson and had abortions to terminate the pregnancies.
According to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, Buckson, pleaded guilty to this week to two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor 11 to 14 years old in Spartanburg County.
He was sentenced to 20 years, suspended to 10 years and 5 years of probation, must register as a sex offender, and can have no contact with the victim. Two charges were dismissed.
Buckson was a former senior pastor at Cleveland Chapel Baptist Church and attended Spartanburg Methodist College, according to the church website.
Buckson served as one of the coordinators for the Cherokee County School Curriculum Council, the website says. He previously served as pastor at Pine Grove Baptist Church in Iva.
Officials say an investigation began in January when a Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office investigator received two tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Investigators said the girl was found and gave a detailed statement to investigators about her involvement with Buckson. She said she had sexual intercourse with him many times when she was 13 years old.
Investigators said that once he was taken into custody, Buckson gave a full confession to the allegations.