Former youth leader gets five years in sexting case

gkocher1@herald-leader.comJanuary 7, 2014 

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 former youth leader at Southland Christian Church's Danville campus was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for sending sexual messages to minors.

Jonathan David Hall, 30, of Danville must register as a sex offender as part of a plea agreement.

Under that agreement, four felony counts of unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual activities were amended to possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor.

Hall also pleaded guilty in November to 37 other felony counts of possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor, and to four misdemeanor counts of distribution of obscene matter to minors.

Defense attorney Ephraim Helton has filed a motion for probation with an alternative-sentencing plan. Under that plan, Hall would serve no more than six months in the Boyle County jail; would enroll in and complete treatment in a community-based, sex-offender treatment program; and would continue to participate in marital counseling "to address the issue of healthy ways to deal with sexual feelings other than using electronic means."

A pre-sentence evaluation showed that there is not a substantial risk that Hall will commit another crime, according to Helton's motion. The motion was accompanied by letters from Hall's wife, his pastors at Vineyard Community Church in Lexington, counselor and friends, all of whom said he had taken steps to "avoid further involvement in the criminal justice system," Helton's motion said.

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

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