CHICAGO (WLS) -- With little of the fanfare that surrounded his charismatic preaching career, one of Chicago's most prominent churchmen pleaded guilty on Friday to sexually abusing a 15 year-old-girl, the I-Team has learned.
The Rev. George Waddles Sr., a former president of the National Baptist Congress and ex-pastor of Zion Hill Missionary Church on W. 78th St, appeared in Cook County criminal court. Since being charged two years ago Waddles has been fighting the allegation. On Friday he pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
However, despite having abused a minor girl, he will not go to jail.
Cook County Judge James Obbish sentenced Waddles to 30 months' probation and the 69 year old minister must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Prosecutors had asked for jail time, especially considering Waddles sexually assaulted the teenager during a counseling session at the church.
In court on Friday the young woman who was sexually abused presented an emotional victim impact statement, saying that the Rev. Waddles had tried to manipulate her family-who were longtime parishioners.
"You called my mom every Sunday to see if you could meet with me again, see if I forgave you, and not press charges" she said.
Although Waddles was charged with molesting only her, the victim told Judge Obbish that there were other girls abused by Waddles.
"I'm the only victim who has come forward since he's been raping, molesting and assaulting minors. George thought I would give up by now, but little did he know, I can't be suppressed" she said. "Even through my suicidal thoughts, self-loathing, dwelling, disappointments, anger, weakness, doubt and confusion, God is still so good."
She and her family declined to comment-saying that authorities had asked them not to speak publicly in case additional victim cases are brought forth.
Waddles would not take questions from ABC7 as he walked out of the courthouse alone on Friday. He is married, has children and grandchildren and has stepped down as pastor of Zion Hill church.
His attorney did not respond to a message left by the I-Team.
For three decades the Rev. Waddles has been a popular fire-and-brimstone-style preacher, whose videos are still viewable on social media.
Unholy abuse: Well-known minister guilty in teen sex case
An ABC7 I-Team Investigation