Former Cary youth pastor faces new sexual exploitation charges

From staff reportsOctober 19, 2013 

Joshua Parker Wheeless: 10/18/2013, 654408. 6'04", 252. Charged with: FIRST DEG SEX EXPLOIT MINOR. SECOND DEG SEX EXPLOIT MINOR.

— A former youth pastor was arrested Friday on new sexual exploitation charges stemming from a case involving a 16-year-old girl he had mentored.

Arrest warrants show that an indictment was handed up Tuesday charging Josh Wheeless, 28, of 1212 Wicklow Drive in Cary, with one count of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

Wheeless was arrested late Friday by Cary police. He is being held in the Wake County jail on a $250,000 bond.

Wheeless had initially been arrested and charged July 16 with sexual exploitation of the girl, who knew him from his work as a youth pastor at Landmark Church. Police said at the time that Wheeless had persuaded the girl to send him nude digital pictures of her.

At the time of the arrest, police seized Wheeless’ computers.

The indictment issued by a Wake County grand jury had new charges stemming from that case, said Susan Moran, a Town of Cary spokeswoman.

According to the indictment, Wheeless is accused of inducing a minor to engage in sexual activity for the purpose of producing a visual image depicting that activity. The indictment also charges that Wheeless downloaded and duplicated a digital image of minors engaged in sexual activity. The file was found on his personal computer, the indictment said.

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