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No jail time, registry for former Porter County church youth leader in teen sex case
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No jail time, registry for former Porter County church youth leader in teen sex case

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Jeffrey McGehee

Jeffrey McGehee

VALPARAISO — A former youth leader at a local church will serve no jail time nor have to register as a sex offender after striking a deal in a teen sex case that had been rejected just more than a year ago by another judge.

Jeffrey McGehee, 33, pleaded guilty before Porter Superior Court Judge Mike Fish to an amended felony count of dissemination of matter harmful to minors in return for prosecutors dropping the original felony charges of sexual misconduct with a minor, vicarious sexual gratification, child solicitation and possession of child pornography, according the plea agreement.

Fish accepted the deal and carried out sentencing, which includes a year of probation and a requirement that McGehee take part in individual counseling with a probation-approved psychologist, the agreement states.

Join Cpl. Jerry Patrick, as he patrols the hallways of Lake Central and Kahler Middle School.

The felony he pleaded guilty to carries a potential sentence of up to 2 1/2 years behind bars.

McGehee, who was represented by defense attorney Bob Harper, earlier had entered into a similar agreement, but it was rejected in August 2020 by then-Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford, who said he wanted to see a requirement that McGehee register as a sex offender.

McGehee looked stunned when the original plea was rejected.

A special prosecutor from Lake County, Keith Anderson, was brought in to handle the case as a result of a conflict of interest involving the Porter County prosecutor's office.

McGehee had admitted that while serving as a youth leader at the Church of Jesus Christ in South Haven, he sent nude photos and a video of himself masturbating to a 15-year-old boy, according to court records.

The offense occurred between Jan. 1, 2017, and Jan. 17, 2018, according to court documents.

McGehee was further accused in the case of soliciting nude photographs and videos of the teen, engaging in kissing and touching, and offering the teen alcohol.

The boy told investigators he was told to keep quiet about his relationship with McGehee by the church pastor and others, according to the charging documents.

The pastor, who is McGehee's father-in-law, initially was charged with two misdemeanor counts of failure to report for attempting to cover up the incidents, according to charging documents. Those charges later were dismissed.

Charges also were dismissed for a female church member who was accused during the wider investigation of having sex with a teen.

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

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