Home > Bishop Nathaniel Wells, crime, General Board, sex crimes, sexual abuse, Western Michigan Jurisdiction > Milton Wells, former COGIC official, sentenced to 7 years in prison

Milton Wells, former COGIC official, sentenced to 7 years in prison

The saga of Milton Wells, a COGIC official in Michigan accused of sexually assaulting two young girls in his congregation, appears to have ended. A  judge sentenced Wells to a minimum seven years in prison for his crimes.  The pastor and community activist had faced up to 15 years for his crimes. Read the history of this case here and here.

Kalamazoo’s MLive news outlet reported the trial and sentencing.

For many years, Milton Wells was known for his service to the Kalamazoo community, as a man of God.

But in truth, he brought about hell in the lives of two young girls.

That’s what the mother of one of the two girls told a judge Friday who sentenced Wells, 63, to a minimum of seven years in prison for second- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

“He would preach and teach holiness but try to create hell in the lives of these children,” the mother of one of the girls said Friday in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court.

“He would preach a sermon on Sunday morning but know that the day before he had taken my child to the movies and touched her.”

Wells headed the Open Door Ministries Church of God in Christ in Kalamazoo until 2010 when the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office began investigating him. He also previously held other leadership positions, including as coordinator for the county’s Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative.

He pleaded guilty in May to one count each of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and seven counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct were dismissed.

At Friday’s hearing, Wells’ attorney, John Beason, asked Berrien County Circuit Judge Sterling R. Schrock to sentence Wells to no more than five years behind bars. Schrock was assigned to preside over the case after the four circuit judges in Kalamazoo County disqualified themselves from hearing the case because they formerly served on local boards with Wells and Wells is a personal friend of one of the judges.

Wells told Schrock on Friday that he was sorry for his actions against the two girls who were both younger than 13.

“This process has been one whole year,” Wells said. “And throughout that whole year not a day has gone by when I have not done some self-evaluation … I’m completely sorry for my actions that I’ve done, I’m sorry for my behavior that has cause some misunderstanding.

“I’m sorry about the pain that I’ve caused that was direct, but that was also indirect. I’m sorry for the disappointment I’ve been to my family, to my church.”

Throughout the trial, there has been no comment or acknowledgement from COGIC leadership, even though Wells was the brother of General Board member Bishop Nathaniel Wells. Read the full story here and view a photo gallery of the sentencing here.

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