If this dismal, apocalyptic era hasn’t left you questioning whatever faith you might have in some sort of god, here’s some more clarity: The founder of Creation Music Festival, billed as “the largest Christian rock festival,” has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for sexually abusing four minors in addition to “inappropriate” interactions with another minor that lasted for 16 years.
The founder is Harry Thomas, a 75-year-old pastor based out of Medford, New Jersey, who, according to Deadstate, “pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, three counts of second-degree sexual assault, and one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.” Thomas’ attorney tried to retract his plea, calling it a “death sentence.”
Burlington Country Prosecutor Scott Coffina likened the case to “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” saying, “An individual who professed to be a man of faith and who has made many positive contributions to strangers committed the ultimate act of betrayal against family members who loved and trusted him.
“There is no sentence that can approximate justice in light of this defendant’s despicable acts against these children, but it is gratifying that the victims have been spared the pain of a trial and the defendant almost certainly will spend the rest of his life in prison, where he never can harm a child again.”
Following his sentencing, Thomas tearfully confessed: “I’m very sorry for the pain I’ve caused. I agree with the scriptures. It would be better for a millstone to be hung around my neck and be cast into the sea. That’s what I deserve.”
Thomas founded the Creation Festival in 1979 alongside Timothy Landis, which has since split into two annual, four-day music festivals that take place in Pennsylvania (Creation Northeast) and Washington (Creation Northwest). This past January, the festival announced that this year’s installment would be postponed to 2019, which remains the case as of publishing.