Former UK basketball player Porter gets prison for sex with minor

gkocher1@herald-leader.comAugust 1, 2013 

Michael Porter left Fayette District Court after his case was waived to the Grand Jury in Lexington, Ky. Monday, June 04, 2012. The Grand Jury will consider the charges against Porter, a former University of Kentucky basketball player, who is charged with multiple felony counts of sodomy and sex involving an underage girl. He has pleaded not guilty. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff

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Former University of Kentucky basketball player Michael Porter was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison after pleading guilty to giving and receiving oral sex with an underage girl.

Porter, 26, was placed in custody and was headed to the Fayette County jail after Judge Ernesto Scorsone handed down the sentence.

Earlier this year, Porter pleaded guilty to third-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse with a girl he met through Southland Christian Church. He was arrested May 15, 2012, after a sting operation by Lexington police yielded evidence that he had sex with the girl, who was 14 and 15 years old during a prolonged relationship with Porter.

Scorsone sentenced Porter to one year on the sodomy charge and two years on the sexual-abuse charge. The sentences are to run concurrently, for a total of two years.

However, because he was in a home-incarceration program for about four months, officials were checking whether he would be eligible for about 128 days credit of time served.

Defense attorney Jim Lowry argued for probation. Lowry said that a pre-sentence report graded Porter as zero risk as a potential reoffender, and as a low risk to be a repeat sex offender.

"I've never seen anyone with a zero," Lowry said. "He's a quality individual who is very unlikely to do anything wrong again."

Lowry said that Porter was not employed by the church and was not a church leader, but that he merely acted as a facilitator for youth groups that met in private homes.

Porter met the girl through a youth group and the two had a crush on each other, Lowry said. "It was a bad situation that got completely out of control," Lowry said. "It was an incredible mistake of judgment" on Porter's part.

In a statement to the judge, Porter said, "I want you and everyone else to know I do take full responsibility for this. ... I am very sorry for what I have done."

Porter also apologized to the girl and her family, none of whom were in the courtroom.

"Though it may have been voluntary, I have a responsibility to any woman to uphold her purity," Porter said.

He also apologized to his wife. "I am very lucky that my wife has chosen to stay with me because I do not deserve it," he said.

Scorsone said he didn't doubt the sincerity of Porter's remarks. But even if Porter was not technically employed by the church, he clearly was facilitating a youth group and had a responsibility to provide a safe and nurturing environment, Scorsone said.

Scorsone noted that the relationship was over a lengthy period. For these reasons, the judge said, he could not grant probation.

Porter must also register as a sex offender and undergo a sex-offender treatment program.

Relatives of Porter had no comment after the sentencing.

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

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