A former Grace Seminary professor has filed a notice to appeal his convictions in a scandal that ended the career of Kosciusko County Sheriff Aaron Rovenstine.
Mark Soto was convicted of two counts of corrupt business influence and one count of intimidation after a 7-day jury trial in October.
Soto was sentenced to three years on home detention and three years on probation.
The convictions came from Soto’s relationship with Kevin Bronson, a martial arts instructor with a long criminal record.
Bronson had claimed that he reformed his life of crime and gang activity and claimed a movie was being made to tell the story of his conversion to Christianity.
Prosecutors contend Soto turned to fellow pastors in the community to raise money for the movie.
Soto was able to raise about $200,000 for the movie. The movie was never made and investors lost their money.
The money was given to Bronson for “living expenses,” according to testimony heard during the trail
The biggest investor was Tyler Silveus, who provided almost $150,000 of the funds raised.
Silveus got involved after being contacted by Nate McLaurin, according to testimony.
McLaurin, pastor of Christ’s Covenant Church testified during the trial that he secured money due to the fear Soto and Bronson put him in.
McLaurin testified Soto and Bronson, told him there would be repercussions from the Aryan Brotherhood if the movie was not made.
Soto maintained his innocence throughout the trial. He said he was only trying to help Bronson stay on a Christian path, and only was repeating what Bronson said.
Prosecutors argued Soto was looking for a pay off from the movie and a future pay off the inclusion in Bronson’s will.
Bronson, who had a tendency of asking for people for money, created a will that included Soto and several others as recipients.
One of those was Rovenstine, who was also indicted in connection with Bronson.
Rovenstine was charged with ten felonies. All the charges connecting Rovenstine to Bronson were dropped.
Rovenstine pleaded guilty to a single a count of intimidation, arising from a heated phone call with Warsaw Police Det. Paul Heaton.