Jordan Baird, a former youth pastor and aspiring pop star, was sentenced to three years in prison Monday on two counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor while in a supervisory position.
It's the second conviction for Baird, 28, who already served a five-month jail sentence after a 2018 conviction in a similar case.
Baird was indicted last summer on the new charges related to a 2014 incident and pleaded guilty in February. He faced up to five years in prison on each count.
Baird, a youth pastor and music teacher at the time at The Life Church in Manassas, had returned home after some success on a reality TV singing contest called “The Next” on the CW in 2012.
Kevin Gross, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney, argued that Baird used his position in the church, including having family in leadership positions, to prey on his victim and her family. Baird’s father was a pastor and founder of the church and his family continues to serve in leadership roles at Life Church.
The victim testified that she has known Baird since she was 13 years old, and he would inappropriately give her back rubs and whisper to her. InsideNoVa is not identifying the victim.
In late 2014, Baird was teaching music to the girl at the church. He was 23 at the time, and she was 16. The victim said Baird was waiting for his wife to leave.
“Once he saw his wife leave he closed the blinds,” the victim said.
The victim said Baird exposed himself and forced her to touch his penis.
Later, he asked her in messages if she wanted to do that again and she said no. He replied, “me neither.”
Gross argued that Baird’s messages were manipulative, because he believes Baird’s intent was to solicit further contact with the victim.
Prosecutors called 13 witnesses to speak about how Baird’s actions affected their lives, including the victim, her family members and a psychologist who evaluated Baird.
The victim told the court she didn’t have a normal high school experience due to Baird’s actions, and she thinks his abuse prevented her from having good grades in high school and attending college.
“I will not be the same person,” she said. “I can’t get the feeling of being scared to go away.”
The victim’s mother said “nothing will change the damage that’s been done.”
“It’s been five years and my daughter has been suffering nonstop,” the mother said, noting her daughter had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder due to Baird’s abuse.
Another woman, now 22, testified that Baird sent her a message when she was 17 that said he was home alone from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. At the time, the girl said she would not go to his home and said it was an inappropriate thing to ask. Jordan Baird apologized and asked her to delete the messages.
Gross asked the woman why she didn’t report the incident. She said it was because her family attended the church and she didn’t want them to stop attending.
Susan Frank, a licensed clinical psychologist who evaluated Baird, testified that Baird had an abnormal sexual attraction to late adolescents. He needs treatment and has an average to above average risk of reoffending, Frank said.
Frank said Baird groomed his victims to get them alone and take advantage of their trust.
“He was their teacher, pastor and paying them special attention,” Frank said.
“This was my lie”
Stephen Dawson, chair of the board of the Life Church, testified that in June 2016 he conducted an investigation into an allegation about inappropriate behavior at the request of the church’s oversight team. Jordan Baird admitted to sending text messages that were sexually suggestive and flirtatious, Dawson said.
Gross said those messages were sent to a minor girl, the victim in Baird’s first convictions.
Defense lawyer Travis Tull called Jordan Baird’s wife, Michelle, who said her husband has been attending therapy. “I didn’t think he was sexually abusing anyone,” she said.
Tull asked for probation for Baird.
Wearing a gray blazer, Jordan Baird spoke before he was sentenced.
“I am trying to change,” he said. “I sincerely apologize to [the victim]. I was irresponsible and selfish. I hope this doesn’t affect your faith. It’s not the Lord’s fault, not other people’s fault, it’s my fault.”
Baird also apologized to his wife and family.
“This was my lie,” he said. “I brought shame on my family. I can’t wait to come out on the other side of this.”
Jordan Baird was ordered not to have any contact with the victim or the victim’s family. He was also ordered to attend a sex offender treatment program and pay court costs. When Baird is released and on probation, he may live with his daughter, who is 5 years old, but cannot be alone with any underage female who is not a family member.