Bobby Blackburn

The pastor of Elevate Church and manager of Giovanni’s in Prestonsburg turned himself into authorities on Wednesday after being charged with a felony child exploitation charge.

Floyd County Jailer Stuart Halbert reported that Bobby Jordan “BJ” Blackburn, 26, of Prestonsburg, turned himself into authorities on Wednesday and was released from custody that day. Blackburn turned himself in at 11:36 a.m. on Wednesday and Halbert said he was released on home incarceration and pretrial monitoring at 5:20 p.m. after posting a $5,000 cash bond.

Prestonsburg Police Sgt. Ross Shurtleff wrote in the citation that Blackburn turned himself in five days after the warrant was issued.

The Prestonsburg Police Department issued a statement this past weekend searching for Blackburn, who is charged with one felony count of prohibited use of an electronic device to procure a minor for a sexual act. 

Shurtleff alleges in the citation that on May 24, Sgt. Ralph Frasure “responded to a complaint of the accused engaging in a conversation via iMessage with a minor female to procure her to engage in a sex act which would meet the statute of Rape 3rd with another minor which would also meet the requirements of that statute.”

Shurtleff reported that he interviewed the alleged victim who provided images of the conversation that included messages allegedly sent from Blackburn. 

Blackburn asked the minor to “engage in a ‘threesome’ with he and another minor,” Shurtleff wrote in the citation. He reported that Blackburn also allegedly coerced an underage employee of his business to lie to officers about the alleged incident.  

“The following afternoon of the 25th of May, Blackburn followed a third minor female to the Prestonsburg Police Department where she attempted to give a statement that she had sent messages from Blackburn’s phone when questioned about the content of the messages, she only had a very limited knowledge about the conversation in this incident and when confronted with her misinformation, she recanted her statement and then provided a written and audio statement that Blackburn advised her of this situation and that she needed to come give a statement that she was the one that sent the messages, when in fact she was not, and if she didn’t she would lose her job,” Shurtleff wrote. 

Shurtleff reported that he attempted to collect the phone, but family members said it had been “thrown in the river in Pike County.” 

Services were cancelled at Elevate Church Sunday after Prestonsburg Police issued its statement regarding the search for Blackburn. Facebook pages for the church and Giovanni’s of Prestonsburg, which is owned by company operated by Blackburn’s family, are no longer active. 

Blackburn is scheduled to be arraigned in Floyd District Court on June 19.

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