YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A former youth pastor pleaded guilty to sex charges today in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Mark Cuprik, 22, entered his pleas before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum to charges of sexual battery, a third degree felony; two counts of pandering sexual material involving a minor, a fourth degree felony; two counts of disseminating harmful matter to a juvenile, a fifth degree felony and sexual imposition, a third degree misdemeanor.

Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of four years in prison. Defense attorneys are expected to argue for less.

Ron Yarwood, Cuprik’s attorney, said the plea agreement came after “extensive” negotiations.

Cuprik, a former youth pastor at the Boardman Campus of Victory Christian Center, remains free on bond until his Feb. 7 sentencing.

Assistant Prosecutor Caitlyn Andrews said Cuprik had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl who was a church member.

Andrews also said the pandering and disseminating charges deal with the person Cuprik had the relationship with and her sister.

The investigation began in March after Cuprik was involved in a chase with Beaver Township police after he was confronted by the family of the victim.

The indictment in the case alleges illegal activity from 2017-2020.

The church has said in earlier statements that it removed Cuprik from his post in January after allegations of misconduct first surfaced and they have been cooperating with authorities ever since.