A Walkersville resident and former pastor was sentenced to 20 years in prison with all but four suspended Wednesday for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl in February 2010, according to State's Attorney Charlie Smith.
Joe Nix Ivey, 74, will serve at least four years of the sentence ordered by Judge G. Edward Dwyer. Ivey pleaded guilty to a second-degree sex offense on Feb. 7 in Frederick County Circuit Court.
During an investigation, Ivey told the girl that what happened was between "you, me and God" and that she shouldn't tell anyone about it, according to charging documents in the case.
Soon after the sex-abuse case became public, Ivey stepped down from a pastoral position at Barnesville Baptist Church in Montgomery County.
"I went into counseling to try and find out why I did what I did and why I covered it up for two years," Ivey told the court in February.
According to charging documents, Ivey sexually assaulted a girl who was visiting his home on Dublin Road for an overnight stay.
The abuse occurred for about 30 minutes while they were watching a movie, the document states.
Ivey said nothing before or during the alleged contact, but told her afterward, "Don't tell anyone, it will ruin me," the documents state.
The girl also told investigators that Ivey abused her when she was 6.
According to the charging documents, when asked about the incident, Ivey said, "I don't remember. I'm 74 years old. I don't remember that one."
Dwyer also put Ivey on five years of supervised probation. In addition, he will be on the tier III child sex offender registry. This means he will be on lifetime registry, with treatment and polygraph examinations. He will not be permitted to possess pornography.
Other conditions of his sentencing include having no contact with any child under 18.
Smith said such cases are difficult for prosecutors, who must balance the pursuit of incarceration for offenders with concerns for the privacy and emotional well-being of victims, who he said can be traumatized by having to relive the abuse as a witness at trial.
"Obviously with these types of offenses we want to get as much time as possible," Smith said.
Ivey will serve time at the Maryland Department of Corrections.