The former pastor of a Dundalk church pleaded guilty Wednesday to a sex offense against a student when she was 17, in what Baltimore County prosecutors described as a coercive relationship more than a decade ago.
Baltimore County prosecutors said Cameron Giovanelli, now 42, used his position of authority at Calvary Baptist Church to pressure the girl — who babysat for his family and attended the church school — into sexual activity in 2007. She reported the incidents to police last year, when she was in her late 20s.
As part of a plea agreement, Giovanelli pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault, both misdemeanors.
Prosecutors dropped other charges, including sexual abuse of a minor, which is a felony.
Giovanelli, who now lives in Orange Park, Florida, faces 90 days in the county detention center and five years of probation. Under the plea agreement, he would be able to serve probation in Florida and would not have to register as a sex offender.
The former pastor did not comment on his case during a hearing in Circuit Court on Wednesday. Defense attorney Peter O’Neill declined to comment after the court proceedings.
Giovanelli was the pastor of the independent, fundamentalist Baptist church on Manchester Road from 2004 to 2014.
The former student, Sarah Jackson, has written about the case on her blog and discussed it on a podcast. The Baltimore Sun does not typically identify victims of sexual crimes, but Jackson gave permission to use her name. After the plea hearing, she said she wanted to wait until sentencing to comment.
In court Wednesday, prosecutor Francis Pilarski laid out the state’s case against Giovanelli, saying incidents had occurred at the school and at Jackson’s grandparents’ house.