WARNING: This information includes graphic details that may be inappropriate for young readers.

CONROE, Texas (KIAH) — A church leader was sentenced in a Montgomery County court up to eight years in jail for sexually abusing a teenage member of his church. Now, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is releasing details about the case.

Jonathan Ryan Ensey, 37, received four years for indecency with a child and eight years for online solicitation of a minor on Wednesday after prosecutors said he sent several sexually explicit messages to the victim. The sentence will be served concurrently with each other.

Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Chris Seufert, who prosecuted the case, said that Ensey used his religious background to groom and seduce the victim.

“This defendant used the child’s faith to victimize her,” Seufert said. “He took advantage of this child’s religious upbringing and twisted the profane with the divine to bend her to his lustful purpose. A church is supposed to be a safe place. It’s not supposed to be a place where predators target your children.”

Ensey was the worship leader at Living Way Church in Conroe, and the son of the church’s pastor, Randy Ensey. In the summer of 2019, Jon Ensey met the victim and her parents, then frequently engaged in conversation with her, touching her and complementing her appearance, prosecutors said.

Weeks later, Ensey began sending messages via Instagram to the victim that started becoming more sexual in nature. According to prosecutors, Ensey began to ask the victim repeatedly for sex in very explicit terms.

He also asked the victim for explicit videos of herself that she didn’t send, then began sending her naked photos of himself, prosecutors said.

One of the pictures Ensey sent to the victim was where the camera was in his lap, looking up at him, with the caption saying, “Took this for you yesterday at the pulpit. (Laughing emoji) Figured you missed the view… although thinking of you having this view reminds me of something else. (Laughing emoji)”

Jonathan Ensey. Montgomery County Sheriff's Office
Jonathan Ensey. Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office

Ensey then persuaded the victim to meet him in the parking lot of a coffee shop with the intent of having sex with her. After the victim got into his car, he began fondling her, prosecutors said.

Two days after the incident, the victim’s mother found some of Ensey’s messages on Instagram, then her and the victim’s father went to Living Way Church to tell Pastor Randy Ensey, prosecutors said.

Pastor Ensey took no substantive action, according to the parents, so they then reported the messages to the Texas Rangers.

During the investigation, the Rangers were able to get the messages between Jon Ensey and the victim through search warrants with Instagram. After receiving and reading thousands of messages between the two spanning five weeks, investigators said that the messages “painted a vivid picture of the weekslong barrage of sexual messages and images that Ensey directed at the victim.”

During the trial, Dr. Danielle Madera, an expert in the dynamics of child sexual abuse, testified that the messages and Ensey’s other conduct showed a “textbook case” of grooming for the purpose of sexually abusing the child. She specifically cited Ensey’s use of his position of power and the influence of religion to accomplish the sexual abuse, prosecutors said.

Throughout the trial, members of the Living Way congregation packed the courtroom in an apparent show of support for the Ensey family. Pastor Randy Ensey testified at his son’s sentencing and asked for leniency. But prosecutors said that he refused to agree that the victim was in no way at fault for her own abuse.

Prosecutors showed that Pastor Ensey had approached one of his congregants, the victim’s relative, seeking to pressure the victim to “have mercy” on her abuser. Pastor Ensey also met with the child’s current pastor and asked him to intervene in a similar manner.

Judge Delaney complimented the victim on her poise when testifying and said he could tell that she was a good person. He described the Defendant’s conduct as “heartbreaking.”

“It breaks my heart to hear the victim of these despicable crimes blamed for her abuse,” Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said. “The defendant’s father, a man who is supposed to be a leader in this community, would not say it, but I will: none of this is the victim’s fault in any way, shape, or form. The only person responsible for these evil acts is Jonathan Ensey, and shame on anyone who says differently.”