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Mahwah minister’s sentencing for underage sex postponed

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A dispute with his attorney and an undisclosed issue at the sex-offender treatment facility where he’s being held have led to a postponement of this Wednesday’s sentencing of a Mahwah minister convicted in April of having sex with an underage congregant,

Bergen County Sheriff’s officers were making preparations for Curtis Franklin’s sentencing after he was brought to the Bergen County Jail this weekend from the state Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel, where he is serving an eight-year prison sentence for  sexually abusing the woman’s youngster sister, who also was underage.

The 47-year-old former assistant pastor at the Mahwah Full Gospel Church faces lifetime parole as a registered Megan’s Law offender if he is ever released from state custody.

A previous prosecution in the same case ended in a mistrial, leading to a retrial that ended with the April conviction. Moments later, Franklin’s wife, Lora, emerged from the courtroom in tears as sheriff’s officers took him away.

However, other supporters began yelling.

“This is a courtroom. This is a public building,” a Bergen County Sheriff’s officer said to them. “If you don’t maintain order, you have to leave.”

They then began to disperse.

Franklin, on the other hand, was subdued — covering his eyes with his hand, his head bowed, as the jury forewoman read the verdict.

“He took it pretty well,” his attorney at the time, Benjamin Morton, told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Morton called the case “a garden-variety ‘he-said / she-said’ case.”

Franklin has since hired a new lawyer.

Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Kenneth Ralph outlined a long-term relationship “conducted in secret” in several places over four years, beginning when the girl was 12.

The woman, now 29, told jurors she “thought that it was love, something special between us,” then later felt like a sinner.

The encounters occurred in Franklin’s tow truck, the bedroom of his house after his wife left early for work, her bedroom, in parking lots, on secluded roads, and in Oregon when she saved money from her summer job working for Franklin’s father-in-law at Speedway 17 in Mahwah and went to visit him and his family for six weeks — when she was 14 — she said.

STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

RELATED:

  • ONLY ON CVP: A woman who said she had sex with a former Mahwah minister for four years beginning when she was 12 told jurors she “thought was it was love, something special between us,” then later felt like a sinner. READ MORE….

  • CVP EXCLUSIVE: A defense attorney for Mahwah youth pastor Curtis Franklin today called his trial on charges of having sex with an underage congregant “a garden-variety ‘he-said / she-said’ case.” However, an assistant Bergen County prosecutor outlined a long-term relationship “conducted in secret” in several places over four years, beginning when the girl was 12. READ MORE….

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