Probation Continued for Former Minister

By Maggie Borman
The Telegraph
March 19, 2009

CARROLLTON - A judge Wednesday accepted a motion by the state and a public defender to continue probation for a former Greene County Baptist minister who admitted sexually abusing a female minor.

Scott County Judge Lois Bell accepted the motion in Greene County Circuit Court in the case of Jeffrey D. Heberlein, 45, of Adams County.

Heberlein was sentenced in September 2006 to four years of probation after pleading guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a female minor from June 1, 2003, through June 1, 2004.

Under a plea agreement at the time, Heberlein stated he had fondled and had sexual contact on several occasions with the teenage girl who had lived next-door to him when he resided in Greene County, where he had served as a minister to the Mount Gilead and Berdan Baptist churches.

Bell, who was assigned the case, sentenced him to four years of supervised probation. She also ordered him to submit to regular polygraph tests at his own expense and to adhere to the conditions of his probation, including regular counseling and treatment.

However, in December 2006, a petition to revoke his probation was filed in Greene County Circuit Court. Prosecutors said Heberlein had failed to comply with all 12 conditions of his parole, specifically, by refusing to continue a polygraph test. A hearing on the petition to revoke was continued a number of times until last July 25, when Bell denied the petition to revoke and ordered the probation to remain in effect as written.

In January, Heberlein was arrested for a second time for violation of probation, this time for failing to report to his probation officer, failure to notify the court of a change of employment and failure to attend counseling.

The last petition to revoke states he violated the terms of probation by being non-compliant in regard to counseling and reporting to probation, and did not receive permission to miss counseling sessions.

At Wednesday's court hearing, Greene County State's Attorney Craig Grummel told the judge that he and Public Defender Tom Piper were submitting a joint motion to continue the matter with one condition - that the Adams County probation officer (probation was transferred to Adams County, where Heberlein now resides) be made aware of his counseling attendance and of any missed counseling sessions missed without reason.

"I accept the joint motion to continue generally, with the report of his counseling attendance," Bell said.

Heberlein will continue to pay $25 per month to the Adams County Probation Office.



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