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Friday, May 24, 2024

Man pleads not guilty to filming children in church bathroom

Dillon Jacobs, was originally charged with four counts of unlawfully filming children in August 2017 (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Virginia Beach police)
Dillon Jacobs, was originally charged with four counts of unlawfully filming children in August 2017 (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Virginia Beach Police)

VIRGINIA BEACH — On Wednesday, a former employee of the Virginia Beach United Methodist Church pleaded not guilty to two counts of unlawful creation of videos and pictures of a minor, says Macie Allen, spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

However, Dillon Jacobs, 20, also conceded that the evidence would be sufficient in finding him guilty.

This may sound similar to a “no-contest plea,” in which defendants do not admit guilt, but acknowledge there is enough evidence to find them guilty. However, the situations are different; usually, after a no-contest plea, a judge will find defendant guilty, Allen said. However, in Jacobs’ case, his attorney asked the judge to delay the verdict so they can present psychological evidence from presentence reports in hopes of influencing the judge’s verdict and possible sentencing in September.
This is a rare situation, considering the strong evidence against Jacobs, which aroused “strenuous objections” from the commonwealth’s attorney in regards to the judge’s delayed verdict, Allen said.

On April 6, 2017, a boy told the church’s assistant administrator, Randy Gillian, that he found a black and white Samsung Galaxy cellphone under the men’s urinal, according to documents filed in Virginia Beach Circuit Court.

The boy told a Virginia Beach Police detective he found the cellphone at a time when meetings were happening at the church and people were in the building, according to court papers.

Senior Pastor Mark Miller said while the church restroom is one that is used by all ages, the phone was found at a time when there were many children in the building.

Two days after it was reported, Jacobs came to reclaim his phone from police. He told authorities he accidentally left it and a jacket in the bathroom while he was working, according to court documents.

Miller said Jacobs was a part-time desk worker at the church — Jacobs was fired immediately after the incident was reported.

“We have very strict policies about conduct and behavior,” Miller said.

Two similar charges were dismissed against Jacobs because of insufficient evidence, Allen said.

The court date for the presentence report is set on Sept, 11.

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