A Murrieta man was sentenced Tuesday to three years in state prison for the rape of a 16-year-old choir girl he pastored at a Temecula church, according to court records.
Joseph Jermaine Spencer, 26, admitted to unlawful sex with a minor, which occurred April 25 at his Murrieta apartment. He was arrested three days later after the victim gave Murrieta police details of the rape.
Spencer worked as an assistant pastor and choir director at . Court records state he picked the victim up from school and took her to his apartment, where he admitted to penetrating her with a foreign object. The victim told police similar acts were commited while she was at his apartment on more than one occasion.
Spencer was convicted of a similar crime with a minor in 2008 in San Bernardino County, for which he was granted four years probation.
In 2009, he was brought back before a judge for failing to report to the Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center to serve a mandated 180 days in jail. At that 2009 court hearing, probation was reinstated and he was sentenced to 240 days local jail time.
Spencer originally pleaded not guilty to the Murrieta case, but withdrew his plead as part of a bargain, according to attorneys. He would have faced nine years in prison were he found guilty on all charges, according to John Hall, spokesperson for the Riverside County District Attorney's office.
On top of the current three-year sentence, he was also required to register as a sex offender in Riverside County.
Peter Surowski and Mirna Alfonso contributed to this report.