November 22, 2003

Sacramento Bee

REDDING — A former pastor of a Happy Valley church pleaded no contest Friday in Shasta Superior Court to 14 sexual abuse charges involving five children who had belonged to his congregation.

David L. Shelton, 62, of Redding agreed to a stipulated term of 26 years and four months as part of the plea agreement, the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office said.

Shelton was pastor of the New Life Fellowship Assembly of God when allegations surfaced earlier this year. He was arrested June 27 after Shasta County sheriff’s detectives taped a telephone conversation between the minister and a 13-year-old boy, Deputy District Attorney Erin Dervin said.

Three other boys and one girl came forward with allegations, resulting in other charges stemming from abuse that occurred between 1996 and March of this year, Dervin said. Most of the incidents took place at the church office or in Shelton’s residence, she said.

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