Pastor Strikes Plea Deal After Woman Says She Was Pressured to Marry Him After Getting Pregnant as Teen
Ash Pereira, now 30, said she was 14 when Jason Greathouse, then a 24-year-old pastor at Heritage United Methodist Church in Enterprise, Alabama, had moved in with her family. She gave birth to their daughter when she was 16.
An Alabama pastor who was facing 20 years in prison on rape charges struck a plea with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor, and received a one-year suspended sentence and probation last Friday, WTVY reported.
Jason Greathouse will serve no jail time, AL.com reported. Also, under this plea, Greathouse will not have to register as a sex offender.
The decision has caused much consternation for his ex-wife, whom he impregnated when she was a teenager.
Ash Pereira, 30, said she was 14 when Greathouse, then a 24-year-old pastor at Heritage United Methodist Church in Enterprise, Alabama, had moved in with her family, AL.com reported. Pereira told the outlet that at the time, the pastor was experiencing financial issues and needed help and that is when she says he began flirting with her, eventually taking her virginity in her home, AL.com reported.
When she was 15, she got pregnant with Greathouse’s child and gave birth to their daughter, Olivia, when she was 16. She said she was forced to marry Greathouse, CBS42 reported.
She divorced Greathouse and says she emancipated herself from her family, but still had to share custody of their child, CBS42 reported.
Following the decision last week, Pereira has spoken out against the decision.
“It can help other people or other girls to take action early on,” she told CBS42. “No matter how hard, you are brave and you are courageous and take action early because the justice system doesn’t always do that for you when you choose to do it. My story is the perfect example of that.”
She told WTVY that the decision in Greathouse’s case “is the same [punishment] as buying beer for a minor.”
Despite her disapproval of the decision, Coffee County District Attorney Tom Anderson said prosecutors agreed to the deal because Pereira and Greathouse were having “issues pertaining to custody/visitation” of their child that Greathouse’s lawyers contended were Pereira’s motivation for pursuing the rape charge, he told AL.com
The district attorney also added to AL.com that a jury may have been persuaded by the defense argument, leading to either a mistrial or not guilty verdict.
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