Former pastor convicted in sexual abuse trial

A former Jackson County, Ohio pastor has been found guilty of 14 of the 15 counts against him in a sexual abuse trial. Dennis V. Wright, 67, who was convicted on the charges involving three victims, reportedly abused a teenage girl numerous times and a mentally challenged adult while he was pastor of the Old Emory Church in Madison Township. He was also convicted of sexually assaulting his own son back in 1989 and 1990 when his son was only 10.

“They convicted him on all counts except count 5, which was illegal use of a minor in a nudity-oriented material,” Defense Attorney Gene Meadows said. “We tried the bulk of the case to the jury. There were several charges in the indictment that had sexual violent predator specifications attached to them. We tried those to the bench today (Tuesday) and we come back for sentencing Thursday.”

The investigation was conducted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI)

According to a story in the Jackson County Times-Journal, the unnamed female was 13 when the first incident occurred. The story said the girl’s father found out about the situation and reported it to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in February 2015.

According to the Jackson newspaper, the trial, which ended Monday, would most likely have ended on Friday, but Wright was taken out of the courtroom when he reportedly complained of chest pains, causing concern that he may have been having a heart attack. However, he was cleared to resume his trial after being treated at the hospital.

The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office could not be reached for comment. Sentencing will take place on Thursday.

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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