Former pastor convicted of assault of disabled man

EULESS, Texas – In a plea agreement with prosecutors, a former Methodist pastor originally accused of public lewdness has been convicted of assault of a disabled person.

James Leonard Finley, 69, pleaded no contest to the assault charge and was sentenced to two years’ probation with deferred adjudication.

The misdemeanor conviction will be dropped from Finley’s criminal record if he completes the terms of his probation. His arrest will remain on his record.

Finley, who had been senior pastor of First United Methodist Church of Euless, also on Oct. 26 was fined $1,380 and ordered to do 80 hours of community service. He must attend sexual misconduct classes.

Jeff Hampton, a Tarrant County assistant district attorney, called it “a fair result” and said Finley took responsibility.

Finley and his attorney, Bruce Ashworth of Fort Worth, could not be reached for comment.

Finley was accused of molesting the 21-year-old man in December. Police described the victim, who lived with his mother, as “immature” and said he trusted the pastor.

Finley resigned in December, days after he was arrested near the victim’s apartment in Euless, a Fort Worth suburb.

Finley also was a member of the Euless Police Department citizens patrol and had been on the list of ministers called to help console tragedy victims.

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