'He took my childhood': Sex abuse survivor speaks after Sunday school teacher sentenced to 87 years

Akilah Davis Image
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
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A Benson man has been found guilty by a Johnston County jury of sexually assaulting underage girls at a church, according to the Johnston County District Attorney's Office.

BENSON, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Benson man was found guilty by a Johnston County jury of sexually assaulting underage girls at a church, according to the Johnston County District Attorney's Office.

He was the Sunday school teacher and a youth pastor at the church for several years.

The victims met Jonathan David Young, 38, through Firstborn Baptist Church in Benson. He was found guilty of multiple counts of rape, sex offense and taking indecent liberties with children.

Authorities said the assaults on the three separate children occurred between 2003 and 2014. Authorities said Young met the victims at church and that's where the assaults happened.

'I do not forgive him'

One of Young's victims was in the courtroom Monday when he was sentenced.

Brianna Holland, 19, said she was 9 years old when the abuse started. On Tuesday, she said Young is getting what he deserves.

She said the abuse started 10 years ago in the basement of the church.

Asked what she could say to Young, Holland replied:

"He is getting what he deserves. I would tell him I do not forgive him. I do not owe him anything. He owes me everything. He took my entire childhood and most of my teenage years away from me. He took all of that. I know I'll never get it. I hope he dies in prison," she said.

Holland was raised in Firstborn Baptist Church. She said Young was like an uncle to her and the other children in the church. She admits to struggling through the years as she's tried to move forward.

"It's been very hard. I've had a lot of anxiety, eating disorders, depression. It's been really, really hard," she said. "In the last two years, I've done a lot of healing and a lot of finding my true self and learning to move on. Now I'm going to use it as a stepping stone to pursue my dream of being a therapist."

Johnston County Senior Assistant District Attorney Paul Jackson released a statement saying, "our hearts go out to the brave survivors who had the courage to disclose and testify in this case. Everyone in our community owes them a debt of gratitude. Their courage in the face of such harsh judgment and scrutiny was amazing and an example of true heroism."

A judge sentenced Young to a minimum of 87 years and a maximum of 109 years in prison.

"Thankfully, this sexual predator will never again be able to harm another child," Jackson said. "The Johnston County District Attorney's Office will continue to aggressively pursue and bring to justice those who prey upon the children in our community."