By The Associated Press
HERNANDO — A judge in Desoto county has found a former Olive Branch Baptist minister guilty of making secret videos of women taking showers at his home.
The Commercial Appeal reports that 33-year-old Samuel Allen Nuckolls was sentenced Friday to 10 years in state prison and ordered to pay more than $80,000 in fines and restitution to victims.
Judge Gerald Chatham ruled that Nuckolls, who was charged with felony counts of video voyeurism, was guilty of secretly recording 13 women at his Olive Branch home from June 2007 to October 2011. The women were Nuckolls’ friends or acquaintances ranging in age from 17 to 26.
Desoto prosecutor Steven Jubera has described Nuckolls as a traveling contract pastor. Nuckolls has also been investigated in Texas and charged with similar crimes in Arkansas.
In July, Nuckolls admitted he illegally taped the women taking showers at his home.
He did not enter a guilty plea in the Desoto case. Instead, he waived his right to a jury trial at that time. The bench trial was held Friday in Hernando.
Chatham found Nuckolls guilty after hearing from several witnesses.
“You violated the trust of these young women,” Chatham told Nuckolls during the sentencing phase of the hearing. “This is the first time that I have heard the term video raped, but that is what you did. You also rocked their faith and hid behind the cloak of our Savior Jesus Christ to commit these crimes. I find that behavior sick.”
Chatham revoked Nuckolls’ bond and ordered that he undergo an evaluation at the state mental hospital.
“I think justice was served, but I just don’t think anything is good enough for us as victims,” 25-year-old Brittany Cooper Prather said after the hearing.
In April, Gosnell, Ark., Assistant Police Chief Darrell Watkins said Nuckolls was charged last year with one count of voyeurism when he was in town for a religious gathering. A woman called police that day after finding a camera that looked like a writing pen in her bathroom at home, according to Watkins. Nuckolls was staying with the woman and her family.
Arkansas officials reviewed images on Nuckolls’ computer, charged him and handed their findings over to Mississippi authorities.
Police in Seymour, Texas, also said they have investigated allegations involving Nuckolls.