BENTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Violent sexual images and videos of teenagers are among key pieces of evidence as a former Benton County pastor pleaded guilty to an eight-count indictment of child exploitation. Josh Henley, 33, was convicted Monday in federal court on the charges.
It’s hard to believe the disturbing details in the small town of Holladay, where Henley served as pastor and coach at the neighboring elementary school.
Benton County Sheriff Kenny Christopher told News 2: “We all want to believe in the good in people.
That’s what the community in Holladay did, he explained.
“They saw him at the church, it’s a very small town, everyone is close to each other,” Sheriff Christopher said.
Henley groomed girls as young as 12, according to Benton County investigators, when he served as pastor at Christ Church in 2018 and as a volunteer coach for the school’s girls’ basketball team. Holladay Elementary.
“The way it all started, and the way it all started, and the way it all worked out, you can see the archetype of a real predator,” Police Chief Christopher said.
Henley built relationships which he continued in 2021 to Evansville, Indiana, where he was a youth minister working in youth camps around the country. That’s where investigators say he drove a 15-year-old victim in Benton County so she could help at his Vacation Bible School and where the two also had sex. The girl told investigators they had engaged in sexual activity since she was 13 years old.
Pornographic images and videos, including Henley having sex with a 14-year-old victim, played a key role in the case, which shattered the online community.
Police Chief Christopher said: “Knowing that people trust him is going to be a lot harder. “They trust him to get their kids away and out of state and it’s heartbreaking to think that all this time parents have trusted him, the community is trusting him and he is playing a role in his life. His role is a really good man. here to help your kids and i’m here to shape them into better people and always have an ulterior motive. “
Sheriff Christopher praised the work of his investigators alongside the FBI, TBI and Evansville police.
“This guy doesn’t have to go out,” he said.
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Henley faces fifteen years in prison on federal charges. Sheriff Christopher said they will file state charges after sentencing in August.
https://www.wkrn.com/news/local-news/former-benton-county-pastor-coach-pleads-guilty-on-child-sex-charges/ Former Benton County pastor, coach pleads guilty on child sex charges