MEMPHIS, Tenn. (KFOR) – A former pastor who once worked with youth in Oklahoma pleaded guilty to child exploitation in Memphis, Tenn.
Joshua Henley, 33, formerly of Benton County, Tenn., and Evansville, Ind., pleaded guilty in federal district court Monday to an eight-count indictment, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.
Henley admitted he produced child sexual abuse material involving three minors, transported a minor interstate while intending to engage in sexual activity with the minor, sent obscene images and videos to a minor and possessed and transported child sexual abuse material, DOJ officials said.
He was a pastor at Holladay Church of Christ in Benton County, Tenn., starting in 2018, and coached the Holladay Elementary School girls’ basketball team.
Henley took a job at an Evansville, Ind., church in April 2021. He drove back to Tennessee in June 2021 to pick up a young teenage female and take her back to Indiana so she could help at the Vacation Bible School he was running.
He had sex with the minor while in Indiana. She later told authorities that Henley started engaging in sexual activity with her two years before he took her to Indiana. She also said he asked her to take sexually explicit pictures and send them to him through a chat application, DOJ officials said.
Another young teen also told authorities in 2020 that Henley asked her to create and send sexually explicit images.
Henley was arrested on June 18, 2021, when he was driving the first teen back to Tennessee. Investigators obtained a warrant to search his cell phone and found sexually explicit images of both teens, as well as video of him having sex with a third young teen girl.
He has also worked with young people in Oklahoma and Texas, according to DOJ officials.
Henley is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 23, 2022 in Jackson, Tenn. He will be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years or a maximum of life in prison.