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Former Benton County pastor pleads guilty to child exploitation

*NOTE: This is a stock photo.
*NOTE: This is a stock photo.(piqsels)
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 11:12 AM CDT
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BENTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - A former Memphis pastor and coach pleaded guilty to an eight-count indictment on child exploitation charges Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney Joseph Murphy announced the conviction of 33-year-old Joshua Henley who admitted to producing child sexual abuse material involving three minors, transporting a minor from Tennessee to Indiana with the intent to engage in sexual activity, sending obscene videos and images to a minor and possessing and transporting child sex abuse materials.

Henley, formerly of Benton County, Tennessee and Evansville, Indiana, was the pastor at Holladay Church of Christ in Benton County in 2018. He was also the coach of the Holladay Elementary School girl’s basketball team.

In April 2021, he started working at a church in Evansville.

The U.S. Department of Justice says Henley drove to Tennessee to pick up a 15-year-old girl and brought her back to Indiana so she could help with his Vacation Bible School.

During that time, Henley sexually abused the teen. She later told investigators she and Henley had been engaging in sexual activity since she was 13 years old. He also asked her for sexually explicit content.

The DOJ says another 15-year-old girl in Indiana said Henley asked her to send sexually explicit images as well.

In June 2021, Henley was arrested as he was driving one of the young girls back to Benton County. During the arrest, investigators found evidence of Henley sexually abusing another girl, aged 14.

He has worked with minors in several states including Oklahoma and Texas.

Henley will behind bars for at least 15 years and possibly sentenced to a term of up to life in prison, according to the DOJ. His official sentencing date is set for August 23, 2022.

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