Former juvenile in White case freed, placed on probation with substance abuse evaluations

A local man who was the unidentified minor in the contributing-to-the-delinquency conviction of former pastor Justin White has been released from the Bartholomew County Jail and placed on probation.

The now-20-year-old originally was scheduled by Bartholomew Superior Court 1 Judge Jim Worton to be sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to possession of methamphetamine and conversion in unrelated cases Oct. 30, court records show.

But instead, Worton sentenced him Nov. 7, the day the defendant’s pre-sentence investigation report was provided to the court by the Bartholomew County Probation office, court records state.

Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash said the sentencing was moved up because of concerns from the 20-year-old’s parents who were worried about his safety in the jail. The sheriff’s department checked into the allegations and determined them to be unfounded, but attorneys in the case agreed to move up the sentencing, Nash said.

The defendant received a one-and-a-half-year jail sentence, which was suspended, and a 180-day Bartholomew County Jail sentence, which was waived for time already served, court documents state.

He was placed on probation for one and a half years and required to undergo a substance-abuse evaluation, not to possess any weapons, make restitution of $144.90 for items stolen from a local department store and to serve the probation through Community Corrections.

The charges against the 20-year-old that he pleaded guilty to stem from two incidents, the first in October 2016 when he was found passed out with a handgun in his lap in a shopping center parking lot in the 2000 block of Merchant’s Mile, court records state. Officers found a small amount of methamphetamine and Xanax in the vehicle where he was found, police said.

The 20-year-old was re-arrested May 4 of this year on the conversion charge, accused of taking merchandise from the department store, court records state.

The Republic is not identifying the individual by name as he was a juvenile when he was linked to an alleged staged burglary at the home of former First Christian Church Pastor Justin White, which occurred on Dec. 18, 2016, court records state.

White was accused of arranging with the juvenile to stage the burglary at the pastor’s home, allowing White to file an insurance claim for the lost items, a claim that White denied repeatedly in court.

An insurance-fraud charge against White was dismissed in a plea-bargain agreement that White accepted in August, in which he pleaded guilty to two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, court records state.

Those felony convictions were from White’s admission that on May 7, 2013, and June 30, 2014, White aided or induced a juvenile to commit an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, according to court documents. In the two counts, White admitted to aiding and inducing the juvenile to deal in two narcotic drugs, hydrocodone and oxycontin, court documents state.

White met the then-juvenile when the boy’s mother approached him about signing a document to allow her son to attend church services at First Christian, she testified in court during White’s sentencing. White volunteered to go to the boy’s home to provide counseling, but admitted that he had the teen obtain narcotics for him.

White is serving a three-year prison sentence at the Putnamville Correctional Facility in Greencastle. The earliest he can be released is April 18, 2019, according to the Indiana Department of Corrections.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.