Jake McElfresh was an acoustic singer-songwriter from Newark, OH. From 2012 to 2015, McElfresh performed under the name Front Porch Step. Under this moniker, he released two records: Aware, a full-length released in November 2013 and Whole Again, an EP released in December 2014.
Touring extensively on these albums, both released by Pure Noise Records, McElfresh began cultivating close relationships with his fans. Some of which blurred the lines between engagement with those that appreciated his work and innapropriate contact with those that idolized him—in some cases with female fans under the age of 18.
Just a month after the Whole Again EP was available for purchase, allegations of misconduct began to circulate online. Girls began sharing stories of their relationships with McElfresh which stirred the hearts of many and triggered dark memories of even more. These relationships were largely based in the cyber-world. Text and photos messages were publicized by young girls that had been taken advantage of by McElfresh. This is the story of a person that chose to use his position of relative fame to take advantage of young fans that wanted to be involved with someone that made them feel something through his music.
After more and more stories began to surface, McElfresh played the victim himself in the following statements made on the Front Porch Step Facebook page:
Posted on 12.31.2014 at 8:30PM:
I am aware of the serious allegations and sensational things being posted on the internet about me and my personal life. While this is personally difficult to experience, I am taking the appropriate, meaningful, and objective steps to address the severity of these things and the horrendous words being used. I would truly hope that others who have or will propagate these serious allegations will do the same
Posted on 01.04.2015 at 1:30PM:
As I posted 3 days ago, I am taking the appropriate time to assess these very serious allegations against me and I am not taking them lightly. Until I can do that in a complete manner with all the information I have at my disposal, I will not be continuing with any current touring activities for the time being.
At this point, Jake McElfresh goes radio silent. He remained inactive for the next three months before releasing one final “statement” on the issue at hand. In it, he continued to deny his role in any misdoings and remained woefully unapologetic for his actions.
In June of 2016, nearly a year after Kevin Lyman allowed McElfresh to play at Warped Tour despite heavy protest from fans and musicians alike both on and off of the tour, a new song was released and all statements regarding his sexting minors were hidden from his social media pages. Archived copies of those statements can be located here (12.31.2014), here (01.04.2015), and here (04.03.15).
Also in June, Kalani Naihe comes forward about their personal experience with Jake McElfresh which includes forced sexual acts and severe manipulation.
In February of 2017, the Front Porch Step Facebook page is updated teasing what appears to be an album. He has still has not taken responsibilty for his actions.
The following is a timeline of links detailing the story of Jake McElfresh’s innapropriate relationships with children, the fallout, and subsequent battle that rages on to prevent Front Porch Step from continuing. These links are intended to educate from square one to present day.
December 2014 – January 2015 | The story breaks:
- Allison Weiss Drops Off Upcoming Tour With Front Porch Step by Kriston McConnell for Under The Gun
- A Pop-Punk Singer and the Blurred Line Between Digital Fan Mail and Trouble – The New York Times
- Bands Need Mentors by Jacob Tender for AltPress
July 2015 | Front Porch Step plays Warped Tour Tennessee:
- Bands call out Warped Tour for including act accused of sexual misconduct by Jessica Goodman Entertainment Weekly
- We Need To Talk About Kevin by Jacob Tender for curbside.audio
- Warped Tour Founder Says He Knowingly Allowed Musician Accused Of Sexual Misconduct To Play Tour Date By Ryan Broderick for Buzzfeed
- Ex-Girlfriend Of Jake McElfresh Opens Up About Relationship, Shares Phone Conversation – Pup Fresh
- The Pup Fresh Podcast Episode #10 – Autumn Lavis Interview – Pup Fresh
- Paramore’s Hayley Williams hits out at Front Porch Step’s Jake McElfresh – by Damian Jones for NME
- Why 13,000 People Signed A Petition To Stop This Guy Playing At Warped Tour by Thea De Gallier for Noisey
- Pop-Punk Keeps Forgiving Sexual Harassers, to the Detriment of Its Teen Girl Fanbase by Maria Sherman for Flavorwire
- Embattled Pop-Punk Artist Jake McElfresh on Underage Sexting Allegations: ‘I’m Not a Pedophile, I’m Not a Rapist’ By Danielle Bacher for Billboard
- No More Silence: Sexual harassment in the scene by Luke O’Neil for AltPress
May 2016 | Front Porch Step plans to return:
- Speak Up, Speak Out: 3 easy ways to make our scene safer and more inclusive by Autumn Lavis for Substream
- Front Porch Step Has A New Album Recorded by Autumn Lavis
June 2016 | Front Porch Step plans to return, pt II:
- Kalani Naihe comes forward about their personal experience with Jake McElfresh
- Front Porch Step releases “Help Me Hurt”
- Front Porch Step posts a teaser image for album.