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Archbishop pleads guilty to perjury
ATLANTA (AP) - Court officials say the 80-year-old leader of a suburban Atlanta megachurch pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge he lied under oath. Cobb County Superior Court Judge Frank Cox said Archbishop Earl Paulk of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at Chapel Hill Harvester Church was sentenced to 10 years probation and a $1,000 fine for the felony charge. Paulk turned himself in to authorities Tuesday night after a warrant was issued for his arrest the previous day. The charges stem from a deposition Paulk gave as part of a civil lawsuit against him, his brother Don and the church by a former church employee who says she was coerced into an affair.
In a 2006 deposition for the lawsuit, the archbishop said under oath that the only woman he had ever had sex with outside of his marriage was former church worker Mona Brewer.
But the results of a court-ordered paternity test revealed in October that Paulk is the biological father of his brother's son, D.E. Paulk, who is now head pastor at the church. As part of Brewer's lawsuit, eight women have given sworn depositions that they were coerced into sexual relationships with Earl Paulk.
Paulk's attorney, Joel Pugh, said he had been working with Cobb County District Attorney Pat Head for weeks on negotiating a deal.
"It was a fair and just resolution of the case for a man who has lived his whole life and done wonderful things but made a mistake," Pugh said. "He's ready to move on."
Pugh had said earlier the warrant came as a surprise to the Paulk family.
The warrant was the result of a months-long probe by Head and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Head called the sentence "certainly adequate" for Paulk, who had never been charged criminally before.
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