Former Jacksonville Pastor Makes Second Court Appearance - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Former Jacksonville Pastor Makes Second Court Appearance

A former Jacksonville pastor, charged with receiving and distributing child pornography, is set to remain in federal custody until at least next month.  Joshua Allen, 23, made a second appearance before a federal judge this afternoon. Officials say Allen had more than 2,000 pictures of underage males and females on his computers.  

Allen was a pastor for two years at Tyler Street Baptist Church in Jacksonville.  Before that, he served as associated pastor there.  Allen resigned from the church on September 21st shortly after investigators seized his computer.  

Allen appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Love over two issues: a hearing on detention and a preliminary examination.  Allen waved both of them.   Allen was in federal court with a lawyer he hired shortly after investigators confiscated two laptops from his home.  Defense attorney, John Heath, Jr. says his client is taking the charges very seriously.

"I don't think that there is any allegation that he has actually made any of these photographs and that's why I'm saying that there's no allegation that he has done anything to a particular child in the community," said Defense Attorney John Heath Jr.  

More than a dozen friends, family and church members showed up to the hearing.  Newton       Hambrick, a former pastor from Tyler Street Baptist Church, says he has known Allen for six years.  Hambrick Allen is one of the finest and most dedicated men he's ever known. He says he and the others there wanted to show Allen they stand behind him.  "Family and friends, friends from the church who was there to lend moral support to him and let him know that people are praying for him and believe in him," said Hambrick.

The court is set to present the case to a grand jury. If a grand jury indicts Allen, then prosecutors would proceed with taking the case to trial.  According to an official with the U.S. Attorney's Office, that's set to happen in early next month.

Oralia Ortega, Reporting.

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