Eastern Wayne Today

Eastern Wayne Today

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Former Pastor and Counselor Sentenced to 17 years in Prison for Sexually Exploiting Children

By Press release submission | Jan 16, 2020

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U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan issued the following announcement on Jan. 16.

A former pastor and counselor from Burtchville, Michigan (just outside Port Huron) was sentenced yesterday to 17 years in prison for sexually exploiting preteen and teenage girls, announced United States Attorney Matthew Schneider of the Eastern District of Michigan.   

Schneider was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division.

Sentenced was Jackie Douglas Woodburn, 64, who was the Director of the Colonial Woods Christian Counseling Center, a place he worked for 28 years.  In addition to his prison sentence, Woodburn will serve 5 years of supervised release upon his release from custody.  Judge Paul D. Borman imposed the sentence.  

According to court records, Woodburn used an unmonitored chatroom-based website to target and manipulate girls.  Woodburn, who pretended to be a teenage boy when speaking to preteen and teenage girls on the website, isolated his victims by transitioning conversations from the website to email and popular social media application platforms.  After isolating the victims, Woodburn used his sizable age, educational, and life experience advantages over the girls to manipulate, pressure, coerce, and entice the girls into undressing and engaging in sexual acts on camera.  The Indictment alleged that Woodburn sexually exploited a 12 year-old girl from Texas, a 13 year-old girl from Kansas, and attempted to entice a 9 year-old girl from Virginia.  However, the FBI’s investigation revealed that Woodburn targeted and exploited several additional victims not identified in the Indictment. 

“It’s completely reprehensible for any person — let alone a pastor and counselor — to abuse young children in this way,” said United States Attorney Matthew Schneider. “We hope this sentencing will bring some closure to the innocent victims and their families who were so badly harmed by the defendant.”

"By the nature of his position, Mr. Woodburn was entrusted with protecting the mental and spiritual health of his community," said SAC D'Antuono. "But he was a wolf in sheep's clothing - looking to prey on the most vulnerable members of our society. Our office remains committed to working with our state and local partners to find and hold accountable this type of sexual predator."

Assistant United States Attorneys April N. Russo and Kevin M. Mulcahy of the Eastern District of Michigan, prosecuted the case.  The FBI’s Detroit Field Office investigated the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc.

Original source can be found here.

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U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan