John Martin is the head preacher in Lighthouse Church in Florence, Alabama. He has been, up until now, fervently anti-gay. However, the pious pastor had a secret: He was sexually abusing little boys. He was arrested just days after.
According the to AL.com, Martin’s congregants told the police what he had been up to, and the preacher had no choice but to confess. He plead guilty to four counts of felony sexual abuse last month.
Martin took the opportunity to stand before the flock he led and tell them what he had done before turning himself in. He had already told his wife about the situation. Perhaps the most troubling part of all of this is that Martin does not seem to understand the severity of what he has done, and nor does he grasp the impact it will have on his victims. This is evident because when speaking about his crimes, Martin called them an “affair,” when at least one of the boys was well under the age of consent. That particular minor was allegedly subjected to Martin’s abuse on both a road trip and at Martin’s home. He also sent the minor sexually explicit text messages.
PASTOR CHARGED: John Martin, former Pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Florence now charged with 4 counts of sexual abuse of a child. Officials believe there may be more potential victims. He's in jail on $60k bond. pic.twitter.com/DxhWLMdLfv
— Margo Gray (@MargoGray48) July 1, 2019
Angie Hamilton, who is an assistant district attorney who is familiar with Martin’s case, said there’s likely more abuse cases related to Martin that will soon be revealed.
“We have identified several potential victims,” she told AL.com. “We believe other charges are forthcoming.”
What is really standing out here is that the church that Martin once led touts very conservative values, where they want boys and men to “dress in shirts and ties, while our ladies wear modest skirts and dresses.”
As the New York Daily News points out, the church takes a hard line on social issues such as divorce and same-sex marriage.
Among its core beliefs, the church believes that “God disapproves of and forbids divorce,” and it maintains a radical pro-life position. “We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest…or the physical or mental well being of the mother are acceptable.”
The church has also a very negative view of same-sex relationships.
“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.”
Martin is currently in the Lauderdale County jail. His bail is set at $60,000.
Featured image via Lauderdale County Jail/YouTube