TERRE HAUTE —
A Terre Haute husband and wife arrested in connection with a child molestation investigation have been formally charged with multiple felonies.
Matthew Mahoney, 36, and Jennifer Mahoney, 34, both appeared in Vigo Superior Court 3 on Wednesday morning where Judge David Bolk read seven felony charges filed against Matthew Mahoney and five felony charges filed against his wife.
Five of the charges are the same for both husband and wife — sexual misconduct with a minor as both a class-B and class-C felony, as well as the class-D felonies of vicarious sexual gratification, child solicitation and dissemination of matter harmful to minors. Matthew Mahoney faces two additional class-B felony charges of sexual misconduct with a minor, for alleged sex acts with the child.
Public defenders were appointed for both Matthew and Jennifer Mahoney, and dates of April 8 and April 11, respectively, were set for the couple to meet with their attorneys in court for the setting of trial dates.
The Mahoneys were arrested last week after the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department was contacted by the guardians of a teenager who stated that she had been in a sexual relationship with Matthew Mahoney since last summer.
Detective Karen Krockenberger said the teen stated that she had spent the night at the Mahoney’s home prior to attending church activities with them. On one occasion, the couple reportedly questioned the teen about her sexual experience, and then the couple allegedly began having sex with the child, police report.
The child stated that in December 2012, a sexual relationship between Matthew Mahoney and herself started without his wife knowing about it, the police report states. The last time the teen stated that she had sex with him was March 23. The child’s guardians became aware of the sexual relationship after Jennifer Mahoney contacted them to say she was suspicious of her husband’s actions with the child, a police report states. The guardians then contacted police.
The Mahoneys are being held in the Vigo County Jail with bail is set at $75,000 each.
Police noted that Matthew and Jennifer Mahoney were lay pastors at a Terre Haute church, but none of the alleged sexual activity is believed to have occurred at the church.
Matthew Mahoney was also a manager at a Terre Haute business that made home deliveries of products. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rob Roberts told the Tribune-Star on Wednesday that police have investigated whether Mahoney might have made inappropriate contact with other potential victims through the business, and that investigation has revealed no additional victims.
A class-B felony is punishable by a sentencing range of 6 to 20 years in prison. A class-C felony has a sentencing range of 2 to 8 years, while a class-D felony has a sentencing range of six months to 3 years in prison. All felonies carry a potential fine of up to $10,000.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.