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Man charged with rape in McMinn County after authorities say he sexually assaulted a juvenile in an Athens park

Authorities said Jeffery Lynn Gregory was arrested and charged with rape after having oral sex with a juvenile in an Athens park.

ATHENS, Tenn. — A man in McMinn County was charged with rape Wednesday after authorities said he had oral sex with a juvenile in an Athens park. 

They said a juvenile male was walking with a group from an Athens school. Other juveniles wanted to go to a person's house, but the male did not so he said he went to Knox Park instead. He said he was sitting at a picnic table when a silver car that was circling the parking lot several times parked.

He said the driver of the car walked out of the car and started speaking with the juvenile. Authorities said that person was later identified as Jeffery Lynn Gregory.

They said Gregory took the juvenile into a bathroom and had oral sex with him. The juvenile said he said 'no' several times and later ran out the door, going to St. Mary's Church.

He said he then called his sister and while walking to the church, he said he saw a car that matched the car he saw in the park. He took a photo of the car and its license plate. He also described Gregory as wearing a blue shirt with white pants, and glasses with grayish, white hair.

Police said they searched through social media for Gregory and found a profile that matched the description of the person who owned the car. The juvenile identified the picture police found as the man in the park.

Authorities also asked for a sexual assault collection kit for the juvenile at a nearby hospital, while making a referral to the Department of Children Services. They later learned Gregory had a warrant for failing to appear issued in McMinn County.

While at the hospital, they also learned that the juvenile's grandfather and another person had gone looking for the car and found it at Knox Park. They said they were following it and the police were able to find the car.

They said they pulled the car over and arrested Gregory on the warrant. They also collected his phone as evidence, after a K-9 unit gave an alert on the car.

Gregory was later interviewed by police and said initially said he did not stop at Knox Park, according to court records. However, he later said that he had gone there and parked. There, he said he saw a young person and sat in the pavilion.

Later, he said he went into the bathroom and the person followed him, locking the door. Gregory said they had oral sex there.

Authorities took a sample from Gregory's mouth and they said Gregory gave the password to his phone. They then got an arrest warrant for Gregory for rape, and he was taken to the McMinn County Justice Center.

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