Bertram Way, then age 60 and a volunteer youth pastor at St. Peter’s Episcopal in Fernandina Beach, Fl., was arrested in 2021 on charges of sexual battery after parents found disturbing messages on their daughter’s phone. The daughter was 12 at the time.
Way was well-known in the community, and area residents expressed shock and dismay when they learned of his arrest.
Arraigned before a Nassau County judge, Way remained behind bars after a judge set bond at $1 million.
Following his arrest, two additional victims came forward.
At trial, Way was found guilty of capital sexual battery, sexual battery and molestation. He entered a plea deal, under which the charges were reduced to sexual battery by a guardian. Way was sentenced to 20 years in jail, followed by 20 years of probation.
Parents of the victims expressed anger at the plea deal, stating they had hoped Way would be sentenced to life in prison.
The church stated that the assaults happened after Way left his volunteer role at the church.