Former youth pastor arrested in revenge plot over sexual assault case

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A former youth pastor convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Pennsylvania allegedly tried to hire a prison inmate to kill a senior church official and judge who were involved in his case, authorities said.

Jacob Malone, 37, will face murder-for-hire charges in the alleged revenge plot, the Chester County District Attorney’s office said Friday in a news release.

Malone was serving a three-to-six-year sentence at a minimum security prison southeast of Pittsburgh when he allegedly offered an inmate $5,000 for the murder of Harold Lee Wiggins, the head pastor at Calvary Fellowship church in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, the district attorney’s office said.

Malone worked at the church as a youth pastor in 2014 and 2015. He was charged in 2016 with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl and was convicted the following year.

He told an inmate he “wanted to get revenge on the people involved in his case,” the district attorney’s office said in the news release.

It wasn’t clear Sunday what role Wiggins played in Malone’s conviction, but Malone also offered money for the murder of Somerset County Common Pleas Judge Jacqueline Cody, who presided over his sexual assault case, the D.A.’s office said.

The inmate told the district attorney’s office about the offer last summer, the statement said. Malone was arrested Thursday following an investigation.

He was being held at Phoenix state prison north of Philadelphia, according to prison records. It wasn’t immediately clear Sunday whether he has a lawyer.

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