Ex-Columbus church pastor accused of staging burglary sentenced on felony charges
A former southern Indiana church pastor has apologized for his actions after being charged in what prosecutors say was a scheme faking a burglary of his home in order to pay a drug debt.
COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) -- A former southern Indiana church pastor has apologized for his actions after being charged in what prosecutors say was a scheme faking a burglary of his home in order to pay a drug debt.
Thirty-eight-year-old Justin White pleaded guilty Monday to two felony counts for inducing a minor to illegally deal painkillers. White says he became addicted to opioids after getting a prescription for headaches.
White was pastor of First Christian Church in Columbus when his house was burglarized last December. He resigned as pastor in March.
Investigators say White intentionally left the door to his home unlocked in December, allowing a teenage drug dealer to walk away with $11,000 worth of property, including money from White's daughter's piggy bank.
Police say White planned to have his insurance company reimburse him for the stolen items.
In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped insurance fraud charges related to the burglary. Defense attorney Mark Dove says White denies staging the burglary.
White's sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 13.
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