Menu Close

Tag: Jeffrey Pringle

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Leader Jeffrey Pringle Sentenced to Life in Prison for Rape

jeff pringle

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Jeffrey “Jeff” Pringle, a youth leader at Lifeway Church in New Philadephia, Ohio, was sentenced to life in prison for raping and committing other sex offenses against two girls. Lifeway is affiliated with the Assemblies of God.

In 2022, the Times Reporter reported:

A man who formerly volunteered with a church youth ministry has been charged with two counts of child rape. The alleged victim was between the ages of 5 and 12 when the alleged offenses occurred between Oct. 15, 2014 and June 11 of this year.

Jeffrey A. Pringle, 59, is being held in the Tuscarawas County jail. Magistrate Christine Weimer set his bail at $750,000 in New Philadelphia Municipal Court on Tuesday.

Pringle is also charged with two counts of gross sexual imposition for allegedly having sexual contact with a child who was less than 13 years old, and allegedly compelling the victim to submit by force or threat of force. The offenses are alleged to have occurred between May 6, 2018 and June 11.

New Philadelphia police charged the city resident on Tuesday. He is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing July 20 in municipal court.

Pringle volunteered with the youth ministry of LifeWay Church for about 10 years, according to Travis Wright, co-pastor. 

He said the church has contacted families who have children in the ministry.

“So far, there has been no one who has come forth and accused Jeff of anything or felt uncomfortable or that their children had been targeted,” Wright said. “We have all been blindsided by this. It was not, in any way, something that we expected or anticipated. We love Jeff and Jeff has been a part of our family for years. And so we are heartbroken by this, for sure.”

Police Detective Capt. Ty Norris said Pringle also had a DJ business under the name Jukebox Jeff.

If Pringle were able to post bond, conditions set by the magistrate would apply to his release. He would be prohibited from having contact with any individual under the age of 18. He would be required to abide by a protection order and not commit acts or threats of abuse against the alleged victim or other protected person. He would be required to stay out of bars and taverns and refrain from using alcohol or drugs of abuse.

In February 2023, Pringle was sentenced to life in prison for raping and committing other sex offenses against two girls.

The Times-Reporter reported:

A 60-year-old man who formerly volunteered with a church youth ministry has received a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 20 years for raping and committing other sex offenses against two girls.

Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Ernest sentenced Jeffrey A. Pringle Thursday on three counts of child rape and four counts of gross sexual imposition.

The judge said the life sentence was mandatory under state law, and that he had discretion only in deciding when parole eligibility would occur.

One victim was 12 and 13 years old when the sexual abuse occurred, and the other 16, according to Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Ryan Styer.

He said the crimes were a disturbing and monstrous betrayal of the trust that every adult owes to children.

“With this type of crime, there’s a lifetime of consequences, a lifetime of bad memories, and oftentimes a lifetime of processing through what happened,” Styer said.

A woman who spoke on behalf of the victims said Pringle’s offenses crushed her heart. She also turned to his victims and apologized for his actions.

“They will remember this forever,” she said. “I just want to know why, Jeff? Everybody respected you. You were in the church. You were in the community, very high up. “

Pringle stated at his sentencing hearing: “I don’t want anybody to feel bad about me going to prison. I feel like a failure.” A failure? Are you fucking kidding me? Pringle is a sexual predator, not a “failure.” Pringle went on to commend the girls for reporting him to their mothers, “If other children would do the same, we wouldn’t have as many cases as we have in the state of Ohio.” It’s the victims’ fault, right? If only victims would report what happened to them to their mothers, there would be fewer sexual predators in Ohio. Sure sounds like victim-blaming to me. Pringle added that he “did ask God for mercy … and He has forgiven me.” Who gives a fuck? Where was God when Pringle was raping these girls?

And we can’t have one of these stories without the predator’s pastor checking in. Pringle’s pastor, Jeff Calkins, wrote a letter to the court, saying that Pringle was repentant. Calkins requested leniency for Pringle. Why? He raped two girls. He’s a sexual predator. To the good pastor I ask, if Pringle raped someone in your family, would you ask for leniency? Of course not. I wish pastors would shut the hell up in cases such as this one. Minister privately to the offender, but stop minimizing his crimes and suggesting as Calkins did that “I believe with the right help and follow-up, he [Pringle] can be a productive citizen.” Calkins’ words run contrary to how Pringle sees himself:

He has admitted to committing these offenses. He has confirmed what the children have disclosed. He has admitted that he has a sickness and that he can’t control it, and I don’t think any type of release can protect the community from someone with that type of illness.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce Gerencser