Jay L. Preston, the director of My Father’s House homeless shelter in Paola, was booked into Miami County Jail on Saturday for aggravated indecent liberties with a child.
On Monday, Miami County Attorney Elizabeth Sweeney-Reeder officially charged Preston, 57, with aggravated indecent liberties with a child, with the offender being older than 18 and the victim being younger than 14.
The charge is an off-grid person felony, and Preston is being held on $500,000 bond.
The charge stems from an incident that allegedly occurred in rural Miami County on or about July 7 through July 8, and the charge is the result of an investigation by the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Sweeney-Reeder said.
Preston was not yet represented by legal counsel as of Monday, and a court date had not yet been set.
Beth Waddle, who has worked at My Father’s House since its opening in 2006, has been named interim president of the organization, according to a statement released by My Father’s House on Monday night.
“Per action by the Board of Directors for My Father’s House Community Services, Inc., Jay Preston, President/CEO of My Father’s House Community Services, Inc., has been placed on an unpaid leave of absence due to a personal matter,” the release stated. “Beth Waddle has been named as Interim President/CEO of the organization and will be handling day to day operations. My Father’s House continues to provide all services and appreciates the support of the community.”
Preston grew up in Paola, and then Overland Park, before attending Kansas State University. There, he majored in Fishery Biology before leaving school amidst a bout of clinical depression, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Attempts to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol led to a period of homelessness in Manhattan, until friends and family helped Preston get off the streets, according to the profile.
Preston got married in 1981, and he and his wife have two children. In addition to founding and operating the homeless shelter, Preston also has served as pastor at Grace Revolution Church of the Nazarene since 2003.
His profile also states that he and his wife have adopted two additional children and fostered many others.
My Father’s House houses homeless people of all backgrounds and provides them with resources to help them transition from poverty to self-sufficiency. My Father’s House’s scattered sites across six counties provide people in the program with two-year leases on houses to help them regain their independence so they may eventually take over the leases themselves.
The shelter’s website currently features a link to a GoFundMe web page that was created in March. The page is asking for funds to help Preston take a sabbatical from his work and church.
“The past year has been an extremely trying time for the Preston family, both personally and professionally,” the page states. “Jay has expressed the toll that this has taken on him and his wife and is in desperate need of a sabbatical in order to seek spiritual guidance and direction for the days, weeks, months and years ahead. This is not a decision that has come easy, and is not something that he takes lightly, as this is the first time in 21 years that he has asked for time away from his church, and from the people that he has devoted his life to helping, in order to revive himself spiritually in the ministry that God has called upon him to follow.”
As of Monday, the page has collected $805 of its $7,500 goal.
In May 2015, Preston was honored by getting to sit in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat at Kauffman Stadium during a Kansas City Royals game.