Ex-church youth leader indicted in sex case; now faces 3 new accusers

gkocher1@herald-leader.comNovember 28, 2012 

Jonathan David Hall, a former youth leader at Danville's Southland Christian Church campus, was accused of exchanging sexual emails with a minor.

PHOTO PROVIDED

DANVILLE — A Boyle County grand jury returned a 45-count indictment this week charging a former youth leader at Southland Christian Church's Danville campus with sending sexual emails to minors.

The indictment stems from initial charges filed in September accusing Jonathan David Hall, 29, of carrying on a monthlong exchange of sexual emails with a teenage girl who lives in Lexington. But Hall also faces new charges that he sent sexual emails to three other minors in three other states, said Commonwealth's Attorney Richie Bottoms and Kentucky State Police Detective Bill Collins.

The indictment does not say where the other teens lived. Collins, who testified before the grand jury, declined Wednesday to identify the other three states.

Bottoms said the indictment includes charges involving out-of-state teens because the emails originated from Boyle County, where Hall lives.

The indictment returned Tuesday includes four felony counts of unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual activities; four misdemeanor counts of distribution of obscene matter to minors; and 37 felony counts of possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor.

Each felony count is punishable by one to five years in prison. Each misdemeanor count is punishable by up to a year in jail.

An executive pastor with Southland Christian Church said in September that Hall had been a youth leader at its Danville campus but was "recently released."

The texts between Hall and the 15-year-old Lexington girl came to light March 24, when Lexington police took a report from a mother who said she had seen suspicious texts on her daughter's iPhone, according to an affidavit filed in September.

The girl told Lexington police she had sent multiple nude photos to a person she knew as "Zach," the affidavit said. The girl said she had never met Zach but had communicated with him via texts and email.

Zach had sent the girl several photos "he claimed were of him with different women," and that Zach had told her the photos were taken at a church camp. The girl said she did not know the women in the photos, although she had attended the same camp.

Zach described himself as an 18-year-old University of Kentucky student. The girl's mother said she had discovered in her daughter's email a photo of an erect penis sent from Zach, the affidavit said.

The Electronic Crime Branch of state police determined the photo was sent from an iPhone near Hall's address in Danville, the affidavit said.

The affidavit said state police had found other communications between Hall "and other females who appear to be less than 18 years of age."

"Some of those messages contained nude photographs of the females, which they had sent to the suspect email," the affidavit says.

Hall could be arraigned as early as Tuesday before Boyle Circuit Judge Darren Peckler.

After his September arrest, Hall was held in the Boyle County jail and was released after a $1,000 bond was posted on his behalf. A district judge ordered him to have electronic monitoring, not to leave the state, and to be confined to home except to visit a doctor or his attorney. Hall was prohibited from using the Internet and was to have no contact with the Lexington teen.

Court papers indicated that Peckler increased the bond to $40,000, so Hall was re-arrested late Wednesday afternoon by the Boyle County Sheriff's Office and lodged in the jail, according to the detention center website. He could be released if a new bond is posted.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublcsafety

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