A former metro youth pastor was sentenced Monday morning for sexual abuse.
Twenty-seven-year old Ryan McKelvey asked the judge for a suspended sentence and apologized to his victims.
“I hate what I did, I hate the situations that I was in, I hate how I used pain and hard times to rationalize and justify my actions,” McKelvey told the judge.
McKelvey was found guilty of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation by a counselor.
Police say McKelvey had inappropriate sexual relations with two teenage girls during his time as a youth pastor at Heritage Assembly of God Church in Des Moines.
A mother of one of the girls McKelvey assaulted gave a statement in court. She said she trusted the youth pastor, only to later find out that he had given her daughter a hickey the same night his wife was at the hospital in labor with their son.
She said he later made a pass at her in her own home.
Both victims also took the stand to give McKelvey their thoughts. One said she forgives him.
“Ryan McKelvey I just want you to know you don’t run my life or steal my joy because the best revenge is just moving on and getting over it,” the victim said.
“I don’t want to ever give you the satisfaction of watching me hurt. This is what I choose to do, I choose to forgive you because forgiveness doesn’t excuse your behavior, but forgiveness prevents your behavior from destroying my heart.”
The judge called McKelvey a manipulator and a predator as she handed down his 15 year sentence in prison. He will also spend the rest of his life on the sex offender registry.