A former Alabama pastor who admitted to having inappropriate relationships with young boys has been handed a lengthy prison sentence, News19 reports.
John Thomas Martin pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree sexual abuse back in June 23. He was sentenced to serve 10 years on each count.
“Those sentences were split to serve two years and ran consecutively for a total of 6 years to serve in prison,” said Coty Hand, Lauderdale County Assistant District Attorney. “He will be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life.”
In 2019, Martin admitted to four counts of sexual abuse of a child involving a victim younger than 16.
Martin was also reportedly under investigation for similar allegations in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where he may have committed crimes against children while serving as a youth pastor in 2004.
District Judge Carole Medley reclassified the documents of the case as confidential following a request from prosecutors in an effort to protect the identities of the victims. The motion not only made documents unavailable to the general public but also meant that prosecutors and defense attorneys could not discuss the case outside of court.
“The victims in both cases were consulted and approved the settlement involving the outcomes in both cases,” said Hand, “which included the set prison term and the conclusion of both cases.”
As the New York Daily News pointed out in 2019, the church where Martin was lead pastor, Lighthouse Baptist Church in Florence, Alabama, is an extremely socially conservative church that encourages men to “dress in shirts and ties, while our ladies wear modest skirts and dresses.”
“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,” the church’s website states.