Crime - Sacto 911

Former choir director pleads no contest to child sexual assault charges

The former choir director of a North Highlands church has pleaded no contest to child sexual assault charges.

Kareem Abdul Mitchell pleaded no contest to two counts of oral copulation with a person under 18 years old, and one count of committing lewd and lascivious acts on a child, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release.

As part of the plea agreement, Mitchell will be sentenced to three years in state prison and required to register as a sex offender for life, officials said. Sentencing is set for Oct. 21 before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Brown.

Mitchell molested three male choir members between 2001 and 2012, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

He was arrested Feb. 3 following an investigation that began in September 2014, when Sacramento police received a report of an alleged sexual relationship, initiated by Mitchell, that had occurred several years earlier and involved a minor in his late teens. The initial victim, who is now an adult, indicated the relationship began in 2005 and ended in 2008. Police said their investigation revealed that Mitchell met the victim while working as a choir director at the New Testament Baptist Church in North Highlands.

Additional charges were filed against Mitchell in March after another alleged victim came forward.

Police said similar allegations were leveled against Mitchell twice before, while he was working as a choir director, but no charges were ever filed.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy