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Anti-gay church leader arrested after ‘offering to pay men on Grindr for sex’

Nick Duffy December 17, 2019
Church elder Barry Cole Poyner was arrested over solicitations on Grindr.

Church elder Barry Cole Poyner was arrested over solicitations on Grindr. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

An elder at a church that preaches against homosexuality has been arrested after allegedly offering to pay for sex on Grindr.

Barry Cole Poyner, one of three elders at Kirksville Church of Christ in Missouri, has been charged with patronising prostitution, according to the Kirksville Daily Express.

According to police records, complaints had alleged that Poyner had been “harassing male students for sexual contact as well as offering to pay for items for sexual favors by using the app Grindr.”

Grindr user ‘DILF’ was elder at anti-gay church

The Grindr user, who went by the username “DILF”, reportedly offered to pay for fuel and other items in exchange for sex.

Poyner’s use of Grindr conflicts with the church’s public opposition to homosexuality, sharing multiple anti-gay Bible quotes on its Facebook page.

One message makes clear: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals.”

A Facebook post made clear: “If you’re having sex and you’re not married it’s not called dating, it’s called fornication.”

The church had a public anti-LGBT stance, while its leader trawled Grindr
The church had a public anti-LGBT stance, while its leader trawled Grindr

The church has not publicly commented on the arrest, though it reportedly removed Poyner from a list of elders – before pulling down the church website and Facebook page.

Poyner was also Professor of Communication at Truman State University in Missouri.

The university said: “The University is aware of the situation regarding Barry Poyner. He has been placed on suspension and informed that he is not allowed on campus, cannot have any contact with student organizations or participate in any campus events or activities.

“The university is cooperating with law enforcement and will have no further comment while the matter is under investigation.”

Police set up an undercover sting on hook-up app

According to local news outlet KTVO, a police officer had made a fake undercover profile on Grindr, posing as an 18-year-old.

Poyner “sent numerous messages and nude photos to the undercover officer,” offering to fuel up his car in return for sexual favours.

After being met by police officers on the way to a planned hook-up, he denied that he had offered to “pay for sexual favours”, saying: “[I was] not going to do that. I was going to give him some gas.”

The professor is far from the first anti-LGBT preacher to be caught failing to practice what they preach.

More: Church, Grindr

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