A Fernandina Beach man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, followed by 20 years of sex offender probation..

Before the deal, Bertram Way, 61, was facing life in prison if he went to trial and was found guity of capital seual battery, sexual battery and molestation. Under the plea agreement, the charges were reduced to secual battery by a custodian.

A year ago, the parent of a 12-year-old girl found inappropriate tet messages on the girl’s phone from Way. When the messages were handed over to the police, an investigation led two other victins to come forward.

Three of the victims were children. A father of one felt the punishent should have been harder. “I was hoping for life,” he said, “but we would have to take it to trial. And they didn’t want to put the victims back trough all that again. So, we all came to that agreement.”

Some relatives of the victims said Way was a youth pastor and was trusted around children. But an impact statement written by two of the victims said Way violated that trust.

“I wish you never touched me. I wish I never trusted you. I wish I never met you. You made me feel as if I was trapped and couldn’t speak out to my family in fear you would hurt them or even me,” one said.

After Way completes his sentence and begins his 20 years of probabion, any infraction could result in his being placed in a facility for sex offenders and stay there indefinitely.

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