Alabama pastor who raped teen gets probation. Here’s why.
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -A former Enterprise, Alabama pastor who molested a girl he later married has been placed on unsupervised probation.
Jason Greathouse, charged with rape, had faced 20 years in prison.
On the verge of trial, his attorney and prosecutors crafted a plea agreement in this bizarre case.
In 2008, Greathouse, then 24, moved into a home where Ashley Pereira (her current name) lived with her family. She was 14.
She and Greathouse, her youth minister, began a consensual sexual relationship.
Pereira, testifying during Thursday’s sentencing hearing, told Coffee County Circuit Judge Jeff Kelley that Greathouse took advantage of her innocence.
She became pregnant and her family forced them to marry, she claims.
That union faltered and, by 2009, the couple had divorced.
Not until 2020 did Pereira, who has built a life in Tennessee, formally accuse her husband of rape.
To all certainty Greathouse is guilty. It a serious felony for an adult to have sex with a person under 16.
However, in that Pereira married Greathouse after the crime occurred 13 years ago created serious challenges for prosecutors.
“This case had extenuating circumstances and we felt like this (plea agreement) is in the best interest of all parties,” Coffee County District Attorney Tom Anderson told News 4.
Had a jury not convicted Greathouse he would have walked away without consequences.
Instead, he pleaded guilty to Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, a misdemeanor, and received a one-year suspended sentence and probation.
“Anytime I have a client walk out of a courthouse with a misdemeanor instead of a felony I’m wonderfully satisfied,” said David Harrison, Greathouse’s attorney.
“That is the same (punishment) as buying beer for a minor (would be),” a frustrated Pereira, who opposed the deal, told News 4.
Though divorced for years, she and Greathouse had continued to spar over issues related to their daughter, now a teen.
“When she failed to get custody of this child three times she comes down (to Enterprise) and brings this case,” Harrison said.
Pereira, though, claims she came to realize Greathouse should be held accountable for his actions.
Now a businesswoman and actress living in Tennessee, she said the ordeal has matured her.
“I hope to help other people—other girls---who have been through something similar,” she said.
Because the charge is a misdemeanor, Greathouse will not be required to register as a sex offender.
Judge Kelley forbids him from having contact with his former wife except for matters involving their child.
Pereira expresses no regrets for pursuing charges years after the crime occurred.
“I think when someone doesn’t think they are guilty they are still potentially very dangerous”, she said of Greathouse.
Harrison dismissed that notion. claiming that Pereira and her former husband communicate on an almost daily basis.
He also lives in Tennessee where he works at an tech firm and has been married 10 years, per Harrison.
Harrison praises District Attorney Tom Anderson and Judge Jeff Kelley for the way they handled this unique case.
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