Anti-gay pastor admits molesting underage boy to entire church
The anti-gay pastor of an Alabama Baptist church had a breakdown while in the pulpit and admitted to having an “affair” with an underage boy in front of his entire congregation.
John Martin, the lead pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church, resigned from his position on June 23 after confessing to what he called “an affair” with an underage boy.
Churchgoers reported his confession to local authorities, who have charged him with four counts of sexual abuse involving a child younger than 16, reports AL.com. He was arrested on felony sex abuse charges on Monday (July 1).
The married father of five had preached about the evils of homosexuality since 2010. The church’s web page states: “We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
“We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance.”
Martin admitted to stunned churchgoers that he had abused the underage boy on multiple occasions at his home and on a road trip. He also sent the child explicit text messages.
Multiple potential victims in other states
Martin worked in several other states before he joined the Alabama church in 2010, and prosecutors believe more victims may be involved. They are asking for anyone with information to come forward.
“We have identified several potential victims,” said Angie Hamilton, an assistant district attorney in Lauderdale County, Alabama. “We believe other charges are forthcoming.”
After confessing to his congregation, the pastor checked himself into a psychiatric unit and turned over two guns. He is currently being held in the Lauderdale County jail with bail set at $60,000 (£47,700).
If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison for each charge and a lifetime on the sex offender registry.