THE RIVER CITY NEWS MORE COVINGTON NEWS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
YOUTH PASTOR SENTENCED FOR SEXUAL ABUSE OF BOY
The full story behind the arrest, conviction, and sentencing of Jason Cline who sexually abused a 13-year old boy while serving as a youth leader at a local church, via Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders:
On September 1, 2011, an employee of Community Family Church in Independence observed Jason Cline touching a 13 year old boy. The touching was not sexual at the time but obviously inappropriate. The employee reported the observation to the boy's mother. The mother became angry, called Cline, and demanded that he stay away from her son. After the call from the boy's irate mother, Cline began calling and text messaging other members of the church and made admissions to inappropriate sexual contact with the boy. The boys parents contacted church leaders and a meeting was held the next day. After the meeting, the church's pastor notified Cline that he was being removed as a Youth Leader and was no longer welcome at the church. During the meeting Cline admitted he "relieved the juvenile on several occasions" in an apparent reference to providing manual sexual gratification.
The boys parents also contacted Kenton County Police. Detective Rob Scroggin was assigned to investigate the case and began collecting statements, text messages, and emails from the various witnesses with whom Cline had communicated. Originally the victim downplayed the extent of the abuse to his parents. When interviewed at the NKY Children's Advocacy Center, however, the boy disclosed seven incidents of abuse during the months of July and August, 2011. When Detective Scroggin went looking for the suspect, Cline was nowhere to be found in NKY and reportedly hiding in Ohio. On September 15, 2011, Scroggin sought and received a warrant for Cline's arrest, charging him with 1st Degree Sexual Abuse. Cline was subsequently arrested and returned to Kenton County. Cline was then indicted by the Kenton County Grand Jury for 7 counts of the same offense for the sequence of events with the same child victim.
The case was called for trial before Kenton Circuit Judge Patricia Summe on August 15, 2012. Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney Megan Mersch presented testimony and evidence from Detective Scroggin, the juvenile victim, the victim's mother, the church pastor, and three additional church employees to whom the defendant made admissions. A representative of Cricket mobile phones was also flown to Kentucky to testify to the authenticity of the text message admissions found in the Defendant's phone records. Cline took the stand in his own defense and claimed he only provided "sports massages" to the 13 year old and that any witness who got the idea things were sexual was mistaken.
At the conclusion of the two day trial, jurors took just over an hour to convict Cline as charged on all counts. At the sentencing phase of the trial, Cline faced 1 to 20 years in prison. Jurors took about 2 hours to decide Cline should go to prison for 15 years. Cline must also register as a sexual offender and be subjected to numerous restrictions upon his release from prison. Formal, final sentencing will take place in September.
Who's going to prison? Who got probation? And who's on the loose?
The following is part of a long list of individuals convicted this week in Kenton County Circuit Court for crimes ranging from burglaries and robberies to drugs and child pornography and more.
More mugshots with an explanation of the crime and length of recommended sentence is available at the link below, courtesy of Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders. Some have been sent away, some are awaiting sentencing, and others will get probation. Whatever they end up with, let's hope as a community that they return healthy and rehabilitated, otherwise the cycle continues. Click the link.