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Former church leader sentenced to prison for child sex crimes

By Blake Keller and Emily Keinath

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    MIDLAND, Michigan (WNEM) — A former church leader/volunteer, who was associated with Mark Barclay Ministries and Living Word Church in Midland, has been sentenced to prison for three felony child sex crimes.

On July 13, 2023, 44-year-old Brandon Saylor was charged with nine felony sex crimes: four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child known by blood or same household, and three counts of accosting a child for immoral purposes.

On Jan. 4, 2024, in a plea agreement, Saylor pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child under 13 and the six other charges were dropped.

On Thursday, April 4, Saylor was sentenced to 5 years to 15 years in prison on three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, according to the Midland County Prosecutor’s Office.

The prosecutor’s office said he will have to comply with lifetime registration on the Sex Offender Registry, lifetime electronic monitoring upon release from prison, and HIV and DNA testing.

The four victims chose not to attend his sentencing, and he did not make any statements to the court during sentencing, according to the prosecutor’s office.

His sentencing guidelines were 36 to 71 months minimum due, in part, to having no prior criminal history, the prosecutor’s office said, adding there was a Cobbs agreement/sentencing indication, given by the Judge at the time of his plea, where the court indicated there would be a 60 month/5 year minimum sentence.

“While his sentencing guidelines do not adequately consider the protection of society and the gravity of the offenses – especially given that these children endured years of abuse beginning at a very young age by someone who was supposed to protect them – we recognize that no amount of time would be adequate justice for the severity of his crimes, or any crime of sexual abuse against children,” the prosecutor’s office said. “The plea and sentence in this matter allowed a resolution that prevented the minor child victims from having to testify at trial and endure further harm and suffering.”

Saylor is one of three church leaders to be investigated for child sex crimes.

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