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Woman pleads guilty to sexual abuse of 16-year-old boy

DECATUR - A 29-year-old woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal sexual abuse of a 16-year-old boy who attended the church where her husband was a youth pastor.

Melissa B. Jones was sentenced to two years probation for the offense, which is a Class 4 felony. She must register as a sex offender for the next 10 years.

At the time she was charged in November 2008, Jones was married to the youth pastor of Salem Baptist Church. According to the church's Web site, Dean Jones now works there as an assistant pastor.

The 16-year-old told police in 2008 that he had attended Salem Baptist for several years. He met Melissa Jones at church camp, and she began counseling him for an addiction to Internet pornography.

The two began to talk on the phone and through text messaging. He came to her house for counseling sessions, where they flirted and touched each other in September 2008.

They eventually had intercourse and continued to have sex multiple times a week, the boy said.

Salem Baptist's senior pastor, the Rev. Gerald Thompson, said in 2008 that he notified police of Jones' relationship with the teenager after she confessed it to him.

Jones does not have a criminal record. She had faced two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, but those charges were dismissed.

As conditions of her probation, she is not to have any contact with the boy for the next two years. She also must cooperate with sex offender treatment and pay court costs.

Macon County Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Dobson said Jones previously received a sex offender evaluation, which showed she had a low risk for re-offending.

The boy's mother said Thursday that she was satisfied with the outcome of the case.

apetty@herald-review.com|421-6986

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