BEDFORD - Convicted rapist Walter Bradshaw showed little emotion early Friday morning as a judge explained how he - described just hours earlier as a "man of God" - would soon undergo an evaluation to determine if he will be listed as a lifetime sex offender.
Shortly after a jury poll in which jurors said the word "guilty" a combined 286 times, Bedford County sheriff's deputies escorted Bradshaw to jail to await a lengthy pre-sentencing process.
District Attorney Bill Higgins said he intends to seek at least the mandatory minimum sentence for the traveling preacher's 22 child sex-abuse convictions: 35 years in prison, almost certainly a life sentence for the 63-year-old.
Higgins painted a disturbing picture of Bradshaw's crimes in an early-morning press conference: A traveling evangelist, exercising emotional control over parishioners across the Appalachians, targeting a young girl from a religious Bedford County family and awaiting the perfect moment to strike.
That moment, the jury decided, came on April 2, 2009, when Bradshaw accompanied the then-11-year-old girl - a family friend who called him "Papa" - to a Bedford Township motel. There, Bradshaw spent the better part of an hour assaulting the girl, trying to have sex with her as she struggled under his grip.
Bradshaw will appear on the Megan's Law sex-offender registry, Higgins said, with convictions including rape of a child and indecent deviate sexual intercourse.
Only two lesser charges, related to an earlier alleged kiss at the girl's elementary school, ended in acquittal.
Friends and parishioners who just hours before had praised Bradshaw as an honest, upright pastor appeared unsettled after the conviction; one, a fellow preacher, hedged an earlier comment that "there would have been no doubt of his word in anything."
A series of supportive churchwomen dressed in traditional, ankle-length dresses and tight buns - including Bradshaw's wife from Lexington, N.C. - showed little obvious reaction as each juror repeated the word "guilty."
Bradshaw now faces sentencing in November, though President Judge Thomas Ling suggested that might be pushed back as authorities complete a monthslong sex-offender evaluation and a presentencing investigation into his past.
Defense attorney Thomas Crawford mentioned appeal opportunities but didn't go into detail in describing his next move.
Higgins suggested that North Carolina authorities might have an interest in another alleged incident, as-yet uncharged, involving the same young girl. With Bradshaw facing decades in prison, however, the issue may be moot, he said.
The girl, now 15, is living with her father, Higgins said. Her mother remains in state prison after pleading no-contest to charges that she allowed Bradshaw to abuse the girl, even ordering her to remain silent about the pastor's crimes.
"I'm very proud of the young woman, who came forward and spoke up," Higgins said.