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Sirens & Gavels

Jury: Man groped Moody bible student

A man who sexually assaulted a 19-year-old Moody Bible Institute student at Mission Park in March has been convicted of a sex offense.

A Spokane County jury deliberated for about an hour and a half Tuesday before convicting John L. Sanders of indecent liberties.

Sanders faces five years to life in prison when he's sentenced Sept. 11, said Deputy Prosecutor Patrick Johnson. Intern Amanda Tufts served as co-counsel with Johnson.

Sanders, 41, will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Sanders, who was represented by public defender John Whaley, was arrested March 16 after a bible school student told police she'd walked to the park to relieve stress and saw someone trying to get her attention. She was not wearing glasses and “assumed it was someone from her acting class or her church,” according to court documents.

When she realized she didn't know the man, the woman said “she felt she might have an opportunity to minister” to him, according to documents.

Sanders then touched her breast and asked her to smoke marijuana with him, she told police. The woman tried to leave, but Sanders kissed her on the lips, grabbed her and made inappropriate comments and noises.

Two female officers arrested Sanders and say he repeatedly made kissing sounds at them and asked them have sex with him.

Police say Sanders was arrested for a similar incident in downtown Spokane in August 2011 for which he pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault. Sanders also has three convictions for second-degree theft.

Superior Court Judge Kathleen O'Connor presided over Sanders' trial this week.


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