Church member pleads guilty in NH teen rape case

May 17, 2011 - 2:15 PM

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire man has pleaded guilty to sexual assault in the 1997 rape of a 15-year-old fellow church member who got pregnant and was later shipped by church leaders to another state to have her baby.

Fifty-two-year-old Ernest Willis of Gilford admitted Tuesday he raped and impregnated his children's baby sitter in 1997. Their pastor at the fundamentalist Trinity Baptist Church in Concord made the girl confess her sins to the congregation, then arranged for her to relocate to Colorado and put her baby up for adoption.

A jury was chosen Monday for Willis' trial on five felony sex charges.

Willis faces 3½ to 7 years in prison on Tuesday's guilty plea.

His trial begins May 23.