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March 29, 2013

Couple faces child molestation charges

TERRE HAUTE — A Terre Haute husband and wife have been arrested in connection with a child molestation investigation.

Mathew Mahoney, 36, and Jennifer Mahoney, 34, both appeared in Vigo Superior Court 3 on Thursday morning where Judge David Bolk found probable cause for their arrest on charges of child molestation.

The Vigo County Sheriff’s Department was contacted Monday by the guardians of a 15-year-old child who stated that she had been in a sexual relationship with Mathew Mahoney since last summer.

During a press conference Thursday afternoon, Detective Karen Krockenberger said the child, who was age 14 on the first occasion of alleged sexual contact, stated that she regularly spent Friday nights at the Mahoneys’ home before attending church activities with them on Saturday. On one occasion, the couple is alleged to have questioned the teen about her sexual experience, and then the couple allegedly began having sex with the child, police said.

The child stated that in December 2012, a sexual relationship between Matthew Mahoney and herself started without his wife knowing about it, the 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.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rob Roberts said that the Mahoneys are being held in the Vigo County Jail on preliminary charges of sexual misconduct with a minor. Their bail is set at $75,000 each, and their next court appearance is set for Wednesday when formal charges are to be filed.

“Our intent at this point for having this press conference is to allay some concerns that Mahoney has had contact with other juveniles,” Roberts said. “We don’t have any other information to believe that there are other victims, but if there are others, we urge them to call police.”

Sheriff Greg Ewing noted that while Matthew and Jennifer Mahoney are lay pastors at a Terre Haute church, none of the alleged sexual activity is believed to have occurred at the church.

Krockenberger said that her investigation has revealed that the Mahoneys have resided in California and Michigan before moving to the Wabash Valley. It is unclear how long the couple has resided in Vigo County, the detective said.

Anyone with possible information related to the investigation can call the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department at 812-462-3226.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

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