KENTON COUNTY, KY (FOX19) - A former northern Kentucky pastor will spend the next 20 years behind bars after prosecutors say he raped a child he was caring for.
Joseph Niemeyer, 56, appeared in court Tuesday for sentencing on three counts of felony sexual abuse, rape, and sodomy.
"When she went into the defendants custody. She went into his custody because she was looking for a safe home to live in. In the 4 years she was in his custody. He sodomized her, raped her and sexual abused her. This was a child that was 5-years-old." said Lawrence Hilton, Assistant Commonwealth Attorney.
Niemeyer pleaded guilty on Nov. 20 to four counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count first-degree sodomy against the girl.
Under the plea agreement, Niemeyer will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and must serve 17 years before being parole eligible, according to Kenton County Prosecutor Rob Sanders.
Niemeyer worked with youth at the Banklick Baptist Church in Walton until he was arrested in February 2016. He also volunteered at Twenhofel Middle School.
Police say they were alerted to the abuse after Niemeyer came forward last year and reported himself to officers.