MACON, Ga. (WRBL) — A former Georgia pastor was sentenced to 10 years in prison on July 6 after previously pleading guilty to one count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for Middle District Georgia.

Eric Tuininga, 45, will serve 120 months in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release. Along with that, Tuininga owes the victim $20,000 in restitution and will be required to register as a sex offender for life upon completion of his sentence.

An associate with the U.S.-based Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) out of Mbale, Uganda, contacted the U.S. Embassy Kampala American Citizen Services (ACS) in June of 2019 to report that Tuininga had sex with a 14-year-old Ugandan girl. Tuininga was working as a group minister at the time.

As the investigation continued, Tuininga admitted to engaging in illicit sexual conduct with the 14-year-old, who came to know Tuininga by visiting the church he ministered at.

U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary says that he wants to recognize the bravery of this young victim.

“I want to recognize the true bravery displayed by the Ugandan girl for speaking out when she was assaulted by a trusted person of power from another country, courageously seeking justice across continents,” said Attorney Leary. “Law enforcement – both abroad and here at home – took on a challenging international case. Homeland Security Investigations’ Child Exploitation Unit worked tirelessly to ensure that the truth was uncovered and the defendant was held accountable for his crime.”

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, HSI-Child Exploitation Unit with special assistance from U.S. Department of State, DSS agents in Kampala, Uganda.