‘Magic Jeff' sentenced to 20 years for abusing children in Cobb

A former Kennesaw youth minister and magician who went by the name “Magic Jeff” was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison Wednesday for offering to help children in store restrooms and then secretly videotaping them.

Jeffrey Alan Wasley, 39, pleaded guilty earlier this year to federal child pornography charges. Wednesday, a federal judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison to be followed by probation for the rest of his life, which he agreed to when he admitted to the crimes. He also agreed not to appeal.

Wasley was a youth minister at Calvary Jesus Church in Kennesaw and often went by "Magic Jeff" when he performed for children at hospitals and schools. At one time, he was a magician at the American Adventures amusement park in Marietta.

But he was perceived differently after he approached two boys -- 5 and 7 -- in a restroom at a Cobb County Target in 2008. One of the boys told his mother Wasley had tried to tuck in his shirt, and she reported it to the store.

A few days later, Wasley was spotted at the Kennesaw Target again and a security officer copied his license plate number and turned it over to police.

Prosecutors said Wasley waited in the restrooms for children who came in without an adult and offered to help them.

When law enforcement agents searched his home, they found more than 17,000 images of child pornography on his computers, including six of boys using restrooms at four different stores -- either a Target or Walmart.

When authorities went back to arrest him, Wasley barricaded himself in his garage and tried to kill himself by slitting his wrist and neck and stabbing himself in the chest. Federal agents said they found a note of apology that Wasley wrote his wife and children and a novel he was writing about a man who was abused as a child and later became a molester as an adult.