STRAFFORD, Mo. — A former youth pastor from Strafford pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree statutory sodomy, two counts of second-degree statutory sodomy and two counts of statutory rape in court Nov. 28.

Jeffrey Dwain Taylor, 48, of Strafford, was originally charged with four counts of first-degree statutory sodomy, two counts of second-degree statutory sodomy, and two counts of statutory rape. Taylor pleaded guilty to all but two of the first-degree statutory sodomy charges. Each charge concerns a child younger than 14.

Taylor was sentenced to nine years for the first-degree charges and seven for the rest. These charges will run concurrently for nine years.

Taylor worked at the First Baptist Church in Stafford until 2020.

According to court records, the victim’s employer called deputies about an employee who admitted to having sexual relations with Taylor since they were 11. The victim was 19 when the call was made. The victim described the nature of her relationship with Taylor and the deputies began searching for evidence.

Six days after the interview with the victim, Taylor agreed to talk to deputies. He told law enforcement that he had been having sexual relations with the girl since she was 11 and how his actions had progressed over time.

“I’m not gonna argue with that little girl’s account of it,” Taylor told law enforcement.

He told law enforcement that his actions were “based in love.” Taylor was originally charged in October 2020.