FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas (KIAH) — A former Missouri City pastor was sentenced to 10 years in prison for aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office.

William Benjamin Woodward, 62, served as pastor for a Baptist church in Missouri City from 2009 until his arrest in April of 2021.

Woodward pled guilty to the charge back in June 14, 2022 and waived his right for a jury trial.

At the June 20 hearing, his attorney, Neal Davis, wanted deferred adjudication – a form of probation – for Woodward because he had no prior criminal history, was a church leader and had immediately started sex offender therapy after the child made the abuse claim, the DA’s office said.

Prosecutors argued that Woodward deserved prison time given the young age of the victim and the fact that Woodward committed his crimes knowing that he had the trust of the parents that he would take good care of the child.

Judge Christian Becerra denied the deferred adjudication and handed down the 10-year sentence.

“William Woodward broke the trust of people who loved and trusted him, as well as those he served. Judge Becerra’s sentence is fair and just given the facts of this case,” Fort Bend County assistant district attorney Jessica Ramos, who served as a prosecutor in the case, said.

“No one is above the law and justice requires the punishment to fit the crime,” said District Attorney Brian Middleton.  “Considering the egregious nature of the offense, Judge Becerra’s punishment decision was just.”