Pastor gets 6 months in fireworks scheme


POSTED: Thursday, January 21, 2010

A 34-year-old youth pastor with the Salvation Army was sentenced yesterday to six months in prison for trying to ship more than four tons of aerial fireworks to Hawaii.

Before her sentencing, Christina Everett tearfully asked the federal judge for leniency.

“;It was a mistake,”; Everett told U.S. District Judge Susan Mollway. “;I'm scared. I don't know what's going to take place, who's going to take care of my 6-year-old son.”;

Everett faced 15 to 21 months in prison for trying to ship 9,000 pounds of aerial fireworks from China into Hawaii in 2007.

She pleaded guilty to importing explosive materials without a license in September. Everett was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and a $1,500 fine.

Everett is a counselor, part-time youth pastor and Sunday school teacher with the Salvation Army and is an “;excellent employee,”; her boss, Brom Begonia, told Mollway.

Begonia, assistant program director with the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, said Everett's main job is organizing outreach programs for the center, which will be built in Leeward Oahu.

He said about a month after Everett was hired last February, she approached management and said she was under federal investigation because of a paperwork problem while trying to start a business.

Everett's attorney, Samuel P. King Jr., asked for a lesser sentence of community service, allowing her to keep her job.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren Ching said Everett deserved a 15-month sentence because she lied to federal agents to cover up the crime. “;That concerns me ... ministering to other and still lies when she feels it's convenient,”; he said.

He said the fireworks cost $40,000, but had a street value of $200,000.