Despicable Abuse: A Pennsylvania pastor has been sentenced to 200 years in federal prison for sexually abusing two children on multiple occasions while recording his crimes on video.
The Philadelphia Enquirer reports:
The retired pastor of a Horsham church was sentenced to 200 years in federal prison Thursday for video-recording himself sexually abusing two children over a period of years.
A former Hatboro pastor who sexually abused an infant and a young girl was sentenced to 200 years in federal prison on Thursday.
Jerry Zweitzig, 71, photographed and recorded video of the abuse and also had a collection of more than 10,000 images of child pornography involving thousands of other children. He was pastor of Horsham Bible Church at the time of the abuse.
Pastor Jerry Zweitzig led the nondenominational Horsham Bible Church until his retirement in 2016. And while acting as pastor Zweitzig was collecting child pornography as well as creating child pornography by photographing and video recording his victims and their abuse.
According to reports, Zweitzig abused an infant as well as a 10-year-old girl. Yet despite the heinous nature of his crimes, the pastor has attempted to justify his actions.
The Philadelphia Enquirer notes:
As recently as earlier this year, prosecutors noted, the 72-year-old Hatboro resident was still seeking to justify and explain away the abuse he inflicted on children.
During a pre-sentencing interview conducted earlier this year, Zweitzig said:
Children are taught to be ashamed of their bodies. I taught [the child] that in the house, there was nothing wrong with nudity. … I really felt that I was trying to help.
Commenting on the case, U.S. Attorney William McSwain said:
The level of depravity in these cases leaves me almost speechless. I will simply say this — today’s sentence ensures that Zweitzig will die in prison, which is probably a better fate than what he deserves.
The Philadelphia Enquirer provides vivid details of the horrific abuse:
In footage from 2014, Zweitzig was seated on a bed as he encouraged the child, then age 9, to feel free to tell him anything “without having to be afraid.” He mentioned that soon the child would have a significant other but that underage people “don’t know what they’re doing.”
The video showed Zweitzig pulling down his pants and masturbating in front of the child, who then ran out of the frame, visibly distressed, to hide in a bathroom nearby. Other images shot by Zweitzig depicted the child in various states of undress or being forced to perform sex acts on him.
Bottom line: Pennsylvania Pastor Jerry Zweitzig has been sentenced to 200 years in federal prison for sexually abusing two children, an infant and a 10-year-old, on multiple occasions while recording his crimes on video.