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Former Danbury youth pastor accepts deal, to be sentenced Nov. 2

Source:Newstime.com

DANBURY — A 42-year-old Danbury minister who a prosecutor said targeted the  most vulnerable teenage boys he was counseling pled guilty to multiple counts of  sexual assault and risk of injury on Wednesday in state Superior  Court.

Troy Grant, the former executive director at Pathways Danbury, an assistant  youth minister at New  Hope Baptist Church and a volunteer with several other programs for at-risk  teens, accepted a plea bargain that will see him serve between 12 and 20 years  behind bars.

“These are the places he focused all his attention. Through his contacts, he  was able to identify the neediest,” Assistant State’s Attorney Sharmese  Hodge said. “These are children who had nothing else and who looked to him  for hope and guidance.”

The proceedings before Judge Susan  Reynolds short-circuited the start of jury selection for  Grant’s trial.

Even as he entered the pleas, potential jurors were waiting in another part  of the White Street courthouse to be questioned by Hodge and defense attorney Angelica  Papastavros.

Wearing a orange prison jumpsuit, the stocky defendant said “guilty” 10 times  as a court clerk recited the charges against him: two counts of second-degree  sexual assault, six counts of risk of injury to a minor, and a single count each  of providing liquor to a minor and attempted illegal sexual contact.

He originally faced more than two dozen similar charges that could have  netted him in excess of 100 years behind bars.

“Mr. Grant is in a position to put this behind him and move on with his life.  This is a good result for him,” Papastavros told reporters later.

The victims, according to Hodge, were nine teenage boys, all under the age of  18, who either lived with Grant at his Quien Street residence or attended  parties he hosted. The incidents occurred between May 2009 and  January 2010.

Detectives from the Danbury  Police Youth Bureau launched an investigation after the state Department  of Children and Families received an anonymous phone call alleging Grant was  having “inappropriate sexual relationships” with two teenage boys who were  living with him, Hodge said.

Police eventually located the caller and interviewed the youths, who  confirmed they permitted Grant to perform sex acts on them in exchange for a  place to live, food, clothing and other essentials, Hodge said.

Other victims said Grant had propositioned them, provided them with liquor,  and in one case, Hodge said, offered to get a teenager a job as  a prostitute.

Grant’s acceptance of the plea-bargain came eight months after he had  rejected an offer by Reynolds to sentence him to a 40-year prison term,  suspended after he served 18 years.

Under the new deal, the prosecution will be allowed to argue for a 20-year  sentence, while the defense can seek a 12-year term.

“The court will decide what you will receive between those parameters,”  Reynolds said Wednesday.

Under either scenario, Grant will also be placed on probation for 30 years  and be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Sentencing will take place Nov. 2.

Contact John  Pirro at jpirro@newstimes.com or 203-731-3342.

Read more: http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Former-Danbury-youth-pastor-accepts-deal-to-be-2170173.php#ixzz1cZOgb0qG

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