A 54-year-old elder from a Christian sect in southern Germany has been convicted of causing bodily harm by hitting a child in his care with a 1.2-meter (four-foot) switch. He was sentenced to six months probation.

The "Twelve Tribes" elder, whose name wasn't released, was also fined 2,000 euros ($2,120) Monday by the Noerdlingen state court in Bavaria, the dpa news agency reported.

During the trial, a 23-year-old, who was 14 at the time, testified the man hit him with the switch a half dozen times.

Authorities raided the sect in southern Germany in 2013 and took 40 children into foster care.

At the time, the sect said there was no "direct evidence against any individual" but on the sect's website, the group said members believe in spanking their children.