Ex-Wildcat Porter's arrest stems from a police sting, documents say

jkegley@herald-leader.comMay 22, 2012 

Former University of Kentucky basketball player Michael Porter was arrested after a sting operation by Lexington police yielded evidence that he had oral sex with an underage girl, according to court documents.

When the former Wildcat was arrested by police at a home on Woodford Drive, he told officers he got involved in a relationship with the girl "because he was addicted to pornography," according to a search warrant filed in Fayette District Court.

Porter, 25, was charged with multiple felony counts of sodomy and sex abuse last week. He has pleaded not guilty.

Porter is accused of engaging in sexual activity with the girl in 2009 and 2010, when she was 14 and 15. The victim, who was not named in the warrant, is now 17. According to police reports, the sex acts took place about five months after Porter announced he was quitting the basketball team.

Porter and his attorney, Jim Lowry of Lexington, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the warrant, Lexington police were notified about the allegations May 10 by a police detective in Nicholasville, who said he had evidence that Porter "has been engaging in sexual activity" with the teen.

The warrant says Lexington police detectives interviewed the girl May 14. She told detectives she met Porter at church functions, where Porter was a group leader.

"She went on to say he took her home from these functions" but stopped at a parking lot where "they would engage in oral sex," the warrant said.

The girl said she and Porter messaged each other on Facebook and would sometimes call and text each other.

"Though the conversations began benign, they eventually turned sexual in nature, as he would relay to her sexual things he would like to do," the warrant said.

The teen sent a "half-naked" picture of herself to Porter over an instant messaging program, the warrant said.

Several hours after the interview with the girl, police began a "phone/text sting," with Porter that yielded information which corroborated her statements, the warrant said, including that they had oral sex in her bedroom.

During the sting operation, Porter said he "wanted her to take more photos of herself because he had to delete the one she sent him," the warrant said.

Police went to Porter's house about 1:45 p.m. May 15, where he was interrogated and arrested. He corroborated the victim's statements and said he was addicted to pornography, the warrant said.

Porter, a business major, was well known as being deeply religious and stood out for being one of the few UK players who were married during their college careers.

The warrant did not name the church where Porter met the girl, though Porter told the Herald-Leader in a 2009 interview that he and his wife, Bryana, were members of Southland Christian Church. The Porters have a daughter.

Chris Hahn, the lead executive pastor at Southland, said last week Porter used to be a volunteer there, but he declined further comment.

According to court documents, Max Appel of Versailles signed Porter out of jail on a third party bond. The Southland Christian Church Web site lists Appel as a staff member. Appel did not return messages seeking comment.

Hahn reiterated, when asked about the relationship between Appel and Porter, that church would not discuss the case.

"As much as we would like to, we do not have anything to comment," he said in an e-mail.

Porter played in 90 games over three years at UK, averaging 2.7 points a game. He left UK with one year of eligibility remaining, saying he wanted to spend more time with his wife and family. He played one year for Tubby Smith and two for Billy Gillispie.

Porter is scheduled to return to district court for a preliminary hearing June 4.

Josh Kegley: (859) 231-3197 Twitter: @HLPublicSafety

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