Crime & Courts

Youth leader accused of soliciting child

KANSAS CITY, Kan. —A Kansas City, Kan., church youth leader who has served prison time for molesting children was charged Tuesday with soliciting a child who attends his church.

Michael Joy, 40, faces one count of aggravated indecent solicitation of a child. He was being held Tuesday on $150,000 bond. It was unclear if he had a lawyer.

Joy, one of five youth leaders for Stony Point Baptist Church, was convicted of eight counts of indecent liberties with a child in the late 1980s, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections Web site. He spent more than eight years in prison and was released on parole in 2000. Joy was discharged from parole in 2003, according to the Web site.

Church pastor Thomas Hamilton said Tuesday that Joy was arrested Friday after a mother called Hamilton the day before, alleging that Joy had inappropriate contact with her child. The family attends the church, but the alleged contact was not on church grounds.

Hamilton notified police, who took Joy into custody at the church. Hamilton said Joy has been a youth leader for the independent congregation of 70 to 120 members since 2001.

Hamilton, who joined the congregation as pastor in 2005, said Joy asked to meet with him in 2005 and tearfully told him he had been convicted of having sex with a teenage girl when he was 18 and that he had spent time in prison for that offense.

After that meeting, Hamilton conducted a Web-based sex offender search and found nothing matching Joy's name or address.

Stony Point Baptist does not routinely perform criminal background checks, and Hamilton said he does not know what is involved in performing such searches.

"But I'm learning," he said.

According to the Kansas Registered Offender Web site operated by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, offenses committed before 1994 are not available. Joy's offenses — eight counts of indecent liberties with a child — occurred in 1987 and 1989.

Hamilton said he received a call Thursday night from a church-member mother, saying Joy had "been inappropriate" with her child.

"There was no touching," Hamilton said. But the child "was put in a very uncomfortable situation," he said.

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