PAOLA, Kan. -- A church pastor, who founded a homeless shelter, appeared before Miami County judge Thursday charged with fondling a child. Jay Preston, 57, faces a felony of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.
Prosecutors say the victim is younger than 14 and the crime happened in a rural part of Miami County earlier this month.
The founder of My Father's House Community Services, 1004 N. Pearl, is well known in the Paola community, where he and his wife have adopted children and served as foster parents.
A former employee at the shelter, who did not want to appear on camera, says Preston was known as "Papa Jay" by those living there. She claims Preston would often smoke and drink with teenagers at the shelter. The former worker says she reported an adult staffer having sex with a younger teen at the shelter and quit after Preston took no action. She believes the shelter should be shut down.
Preston is being held on $500,000 bond. His public defender declined to comment about the case Thursday, but did request a bond hearing, which is scheduled for August 15.