Jacksonville’s CBS affiliate reports:
A former Jacksonville minister was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday. In March of 2020 Michael Linkenauger was arrested and charged for sexual battery and lewd or lascivious acts. A judge heard from the now 17-year-old victim who asked the judge to hand down the maximum penalty. “My world has been turned upside down by Mr. Linkenauger’s actions,” he said, adding the man was a father figure to him. “I don’t believe he will change.”
Jacksonville’s NBC affiliate reports:
The case bogged down during the pandemic, and Linkenauger was representing himself, right up to the time of trial last month, when he told the judge he did want a lawyer appointed. He was convicted on five counts of sexual battery and two counts of lewd & lascivious molestation.
Linkenauger was known in the community not only because of his work as a real estate agent, but he founded a faith-based ministry called Hot Dogs for Hope, which provides food and laundry for the homeless population of Jacksonville. He was also involved with other local organizations and churches.
When confronted by the boy’s mother, Linkenauger apologized and said he had fantasies about being with boys, according to the police report, adding that the mother should believe everything her son told her about the abuse. According to detectives, he also told the boy’s mother he had done worse things to others.
Linkenauger’s wife, with whom he has two children, told police that her husband had been living a “double life.” The video below is from 2020 and the bruises on his face are from having resisted arrest.