After years of activism from his victims and their advocates, Jordan Baird, a former pop singer and youth pastor at The Life Church in Virginia, owned up to his past of sexually abusing underage girls from his church as he was sentenced on Monday to three years in prison for indecent acts with a child by a custodian.
“This was my lie. These were my mistakes,” Baird, 28, said during his sentencing hearing, according to Fox 5. “I brought shame on my family and shame on my friendships.”
Baird apologized to his victim, wife and family using a prepared statement, the Prince William Times reported.
“I simply apologize for what happened,” he told his victim. “It never should have happened, and that’s on me.”
Prior to the handing down of the sentence, Baird told the judge: “I take complete and total responsibility for what I’ve done. Whatever you decided, I will man up and take it and I will walk through it.”
Baird, son of David and Jo Ann Baird who led the multi-campus church for years before handing the reins over to their other son, Josh, had been facing up to 10 years in prison for his crimes. But Judge John E. Wetsel Jr. sentenced him to three years, plus three years’ probation.
The latest sentence comes on the heels of an 8-month stint he was ordered to serve in February 2018 for five counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor.
The victim in the latest case said she was 16 in 2014 when Baird sexually abused her at his family’s Manassas church. She said he kissed her, exposed himself, put her hand on his genitals and asked for oral sex, Fox 5 reported.
She told the court through tears that the experience caused her to lose her faith as well as trust in people. Her mother also revealed that her depression, which she struggled with prior to the abuse, got worse after her encounter with Baird, who was once a rising pop star.
“There was a lot of chaos in my life because of this,” she said, according to the Prince William Times.
Baird was a contestant on CW's "The Next" in the fall of 2012 and placed second in the competition. He was mentored by Joe Jonas during the competition, which led to a relationship with The Jonas Brothers and The Jonas Group, according to Breedlove Music. In the summer of 2013, he opened for the Jonas Brothers tour and moved to Los Angeles where he signed with Jonas Group Management in the fall of that year – the same year police say he committed one of his alleged crimes.
Jordan's legal troubles started July 7, 2016, when detectives from the Special Victims Unit of the Prince William County Police Department in Virginia responded to investigate inappropriate contact, which was reported to have occurred at Life Church in 2015. Detectives say Baird sent inappropriate text messages and inappropriately touched a 16-year-old female multiple times between January and September 2015.
Morgan Harding, the victim in that case who is now an adult, delivered impact statements during Baird’s sentencing last year which were both published on Nathan's Voice here and here. In the statements, the women confronted Baird and his family about the way they were treated after they decided to seek justice.
Harding’s mother, Gloria Harding, who was at Baird’s sentencing on Monday, told Fox that she hopes the longer sentence in this case will ensure he gets the help he needs.
“I believe that three years in a state penitentiary that hopefully, Jordan will really truly get the help that he needs, programs that he needs to go into there. And I hope it really sends a strong message that abusing children, especially inside the church, is absolutely unacceptable,” she said.
She argued that the church painted the victims as liars when they tried to get justice in the beginning.
“I hope that his family was able today to really see how much just the perpetuation of the lies that went on for so many years really culminated to today. None of this was necessary,” she said.
Fredericksburg Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Kevin Gross, appointed as the special prosecutor in the case, described Baird as “a deceiver.”
“He had all those people, their families trusting him,” Gross said, according to the Times. “He knows how to put on a show.”
Gross further argued that the case “is particularly heinous” because it “involves not only a church, but a church leader.”
“If you’re not safe in the church and you can’t trust church leaders who you’ve known for a long time, really, it begs the question, ‘who can you trust?’” he said.
The Christian Post reached out to the church for comment Tuesday but officials did not immediately respond.
Baird is married to former Hillsong United singer and songwriter Michelle Fragar with whom he shares a 5-year-old daughter.
She also spoke in court Monday about the heartbreak she has suffered and insisted that her husband is a changed man.
The former pop star’s defense attorney, Travis Tull, agreed.
“Whatever he was then (2014) … he’s not that same person now,” Tull said.