HERNANDO, MS (abc24.com) - Mississippi's peeping pastor is headed to prison. Evangelist Samuel Nuckolls will serve a decade behind bars for secretly videotaping more than a dozen women at his Olive Branch home.
Nuckolls must also pay nearly $85,000 in fines and counseling for his victims.
The courtroom was filled with the women and their families, all who trusted Nuckolls as a friend, mentor and pastor. The women say he took advantage of that trust, and "video-raped" them.
The state showed footage of Nuckolls setting up hidden cameras in the bathroom of his home where the women stayed. He filmed them showering and undressing. Several testified they were close friends with Nuckolls; he performed marriage ceremonies for some, counseled others, and led Bible studies.
Nuckolls shot the videos over four years, targeting some of the women multiple times. All that time and the large number of victims were a big factor in the judge's sentencing.
"You've got 14 different victims hurt, families decimated, lives forever scarred by what you've done… You hid behind the cloak of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to commit these crimes," stated Judge Gerald Chatham. "You robbed them of their dignity and trust. It's the first time I've heard the expression 'video rape.'"
Defense attorney Ronald Michael said of Nuckolls, "I see someone who got caught up in lust… It's almost a pornographic-type situation; it overpowered him."
There are 14 victims in Mississippi, 21 women in total. The other victims are in Arkansas, Texas and Virginia.
Nuckolls was taken straight to Desoto jail Friday. The judge also ordered he undergo a mental evaluation, saying he thinks Nuckolls is suffering from a disease. He will evaluate those results with this ruling.