August 29, 2019
Billly Kobin


A Kentucky pastor who was arrested this year after he allegedly sought sex with a minor via text messages has been indicted by a grand jury, according to court records.

A grand jury in Floyd County, Kentucky, indicted Bobby J. Blackburn, 26, on Wednesday on two counts of prohibited use of an electronic communication system to procure a minor to commit a sex offense, court records show.

Blackburn is the pastor of Elevate Church in Prestonsburg, which is not affiliated with an Elevate Church on Shelbyville Road nor one in Frankfort, and also manages a pizza restaurant in the Eastern Kentucky city.

Both minors were employees of a business that Blackburn manages, according to the arrest citation, which did not name the business or ages of the two minors.

Blackburn's attorney, Stephen Owens, told the Courier Journal on Thursday the females that Blackburn allegedly sought sex with are 17 years old but "media coverage is making it out to be like they are 9- or 10-year-olds."

"They were 17 years old, and in Kentucky, the age of consent is 16," Owens said, adding he will file a motion on the "constitutionality" of the statute that is being used to prosecute Blackburn.

While Kentucky's age of consent is 16, the age of consent is raised to 18 if the someone is in a position of trust or authority over the teenager.

According to an arrest citation, Blackburn was arrested in May after a girl showed a Prestonsburg police sergeant images of an iMessage conversation.

In the messages, Blackburn asked the girl to engage in a "threesome" with him and another female minor, among other sexually explicit requests, according to police.

On May 25, Blackburn allegedly followed a third girl to the Prestonsburg Police Department, where the girl tried to give a statement saying she sent the obscene messages from Blackburn's phone.

But when police questioned the girl further, she took back her statement and said that Blackburn told her to say it or else she would lose her job, according to the arrest citation.

Officers attempted to collect Blackburn's phone through a search warrant, but family members said the phone was thrown in a Pike County river, according to police.

Blackburn eventually turned himself in to police on May 29.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge and was later released on home incarceration after posting $5,000 bond, according to court records.

Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn: Please visit our website at for news, information and resources in your community.


Follow on: