First Responders

Kentucky Deputy Faces 25 Years in Prison After Assaulting Teen

March 29, 2022Carl Prine

A Morehead, Kentucky, man, Joshua Preece, 40, was sentenced to 300 months in federal prison on Monday, March 28, 2022. He enticed a minor victim to produce child pornography. Grayson County Detention Center photo.

Called to assist a troubled teen, Bath County Deputy Sheriff Joshua Eugene Preece told the girl’s mom he was taking her to a friend’s house. Instead, he drove the 17-year-old to a Kentucky barn, sexually assaulted her, and later pestered her to send him nude photos.

What began in Preece’s patrol vehicle on Nov. 5, 2018, ended March 28, 2022, in a Lexington courtroom. US District Judge Karen K. Caldwell sentenced the ex-deputy to 25 years behind bars for enticing a minor victim to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography.

Under federal guidelines, Preece, 40, must serve at least 85% of that sentence. He had faced up to 30 years in prison.

“The conduct in this case is simply disgraceful,” US Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky Carlton S. Shier IV said in a prepared statement. “The offense itself — a brazen act of child exploitation and abuse — is abhorrent, but the fact that he did it while he was a law enforcement officer makes it even more so. He abused a vulnerable victim, while also betraying a public trust and doing enduring disservice to the dedicated efforts of all law enforcement.  I am grateful for hard work of our law enforcement partners, whose efforts made this prosecution possible.”

Troubled Teen
Kentucky’s Bath County is a mostly rural, rugged community of roughly 11,000 citizens on the eastern side of the Bluegrass State. Bath County photo.

Preece’s attorney didn’t respond to messages seeking comment. According to Kentucky records, Preece is also being prosecuted on state criminal charges.

In a plea deal inked Oct. 12, 2021, with federal prosecutors, Preece confessed that he’d lied to the mother, who was reluctant to let him take her daughter away. He admitted he’d intentionally driven the girl past her friend’s house to a remote area of Bath County. He began rubbing her thigh and private areas and ordered her to drop her pants and underwear. He removed his gun belt and pistol, placed them on his console, went over to her side of the vehicle, and sexually assaulted her.

He asked for her phone number, but the girl refused and instead gave him her Snapchat information. Later that night, he messaged her, asking for nude photos. He told her she had “nice boobs.” He begged for more sexually explicit images. She sent them, and the next day she told her mother and grandmother what the deputy did to her.

That sparked investigations by the Kentucky State Police and US Secret Service. They uncovered evidence that Preece had for months been posing as a boy and a girl on the social app Whisper to solicit nude images from at least six other minors, according to court records.

Troubled Teen
Home to roughly 11,000 citizens, Kentucky’s Bath County was formed in 1811. It’s perhaps best known for the rugged Daniel Boone National Forest. Bath County photo.

Preece wanted to serve fewer than 18 years behind bars. In his pitch to the judge for leniency, his legal team mustered testimony from 10 witnesses who swore by his good character. They described him as a man who had a bad childhood, with a distant father and a mom who struggled to make ends meet, but praised him for growing up to pursue a 12-year career in law enforcement.

They described Preece as a good student at Lawrence County High School and Morehead State University; a man who took care of the elderly and the sick; and a former Kentucky State Police trooper and an entrepreneur who started his own jewelry business.

“There is no doubt his conduct in this case is the greatest shame of his life,” his Lexington defense attorney, Jarrod J. Beck, wrote. “Mr. Preece will never again be able to serve his community as he did before. Instead, he will spend the rest of his life trying to regain the trust of those he betrayed.”

But federal prosecutors urged a much tougher sentence.

Troubled Teen
The Bath County Sheriff’s Office is a small law enforcement agency in Owingsville, Kentucky, with six full- and part-time deputies. Bath County Sheriff’s Office photo.

“Learning of Preece’s substantial sentence will perhaps reduce the abuse of children by others in this district who would consider producing, receiving, possessing and trading such material,” Assistant US Attorney David A. Marye wrote in his motion to the judge.

Under the terms of Preece’s plea deal, he’s allowed to challenge any sentence longer than 20 years in prison, but no appeal has been filed, according to the federal docket.

He remains incarcerated at the Grayson County Detention Center in Leitchfield, Kentucky, pending transfer to a federal facility by the US Marshals Service.

Read Next: How This Corrupt Texas Police Chief Used His Band, Funky Munky, To Pocket Bribes

Carl Prine
Carl Prine

Carl Prine is a former senior editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. He has worked at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
9 Killed In Army Black Hawk Helicopter Crash In Kentucky

Nondice Thurman, a spokesperson for Fort Campbell, said Thursday morning that the deaths happened the previous night in southwestern Kentucky during a routine training mission.

March 30, 2023Associated Press
richard stayskal act military medical malpractice
DOD Denies Most Stayskal Act Malpractice Claims

Master Sgt. Richard Stayskal was diagnosed with lung cancer long after military doctors missed a tum...

March 29, 2023Maggie BenZvi
ukraine lessons learned
Opinion & Essay
Nolan Peterson: Lessons From Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

After living in and reporting from Ukraine the last nine years, conflict journalist Nolan Peterson h...

March 28, 2023Nolan Peterson
ukrainian wounded soldiers
‘On Tour In Hell’: Wounded Ukrainian Soldiers Evacuated

With bandaged heads and splinted limbs, the wounded soldiers are stretchered into the waiting medica...

March 27, 2023Associated Press
US oil mission
US Launches Airstrikes in Syria After Drone Kills US Worker

While it’s not the first time the U.S. and Iran have traded airstrikes in Syria, the attack and the ...

March 24, 2023Associated Press
The Gift jason dunham
‘The Gift’ Explores the Life and Legacy of Medal of Honor Recipient Jason Dunham

"The Gift" tells the story of the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor after the Vietnam War. ...

March 24, 2023Mac Caltrider
uss milius
US Denies Chinese Claim It Drove Away American Destroyer

The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet said that a statement from China's Southern Theatre Command that it had fo...

March 23, 2023Associated Press
The Speed Project: Vet Team To Run in Lawless, Invite-Only Ultramarathon

For the first time, a team of (mostly) US veterans and active-duty service members will run in The S...

March 23, 2023Jenna Biter
  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved