published Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Former youth pastor charged with child pornography in Chattanooga

A former Shelbyville youth minister who police allege seduced one of his youth group members has been charged here in federal court with possessing child pornography.

The former North Fork Baptist Church youth minister Joseph Todd Neill, 37, was named in a federal criminal complaint filed February 18.

The 37-year-old man was first arrested and indicted in state court on charges of sexual exploitation of a minor and statutory rape by an authority figure. The victim was 17 years old at the time of the incident, according to police records.

On the more severe charge of exploitation Neill faces an 8- to 30-year sentence, if convicted in state court.

He is currently free on a $150,000 bond, having been released in September, according to the Bedford County Jail.

Police report that 90 images containing minors engaged in sexual activity were found on Neill's cell phone during the statutory rape investigation.

Neill has a hearing scheduled on the state charges Friday.

There has not been a hearing date yet set for the federal charge.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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