A well-known Christian preacher, author, and public speaker was arrested this Tuesday on child sex charges, according to AL.com.
Paul Edward Acton Bowen, 37, is the founder of Acton Bowen Outreach Ministries and was is charged with second-degree sodomy, enticing a child to enter a vehicle or house for immoral purposes, and second-degree sex abuse. Police did not release the age of the victim, who is a young male, but said that he’s between the age of 12 and 16. The investigation was reportedly launched 3 weeks ago and a warrant for Bowen was issued on Monday.
“This is certainly one of the more disturbing cases that we’ve investigated in quite some time,” Hoover police Capt. Gregg Rector said. “Mr. Bowen is in a highly-respected position of influence and he is trusted by many. We believe he betrayed that trust in the worst kind of way.”
Bowen is currently being held on $90,300 bond.
Police say the victim was a family acquaintance and is in a “safe environment since police were first notified.”
According to Alabama law, a person commits the crime of second-sodomy if he or she, being 16 years old or older, engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person less than 16 and more than 12 years old.
For enticing a child to enter vehicle, house, etc., for immoral purposes, the law says, “It shall be unlawful for any person with lascivious intent to entice, allure, persuade, or invite any child under 16 years of age to enter any vehicle, room, house, office, or other place for the purpose of proposing to such child the performance of an act of sexual intercourse or an act which constitutes the offense of sodomy.”
Second-degree sexual abuse occurs, the law says, when a person who is 19 years or older, subjects another person to sexual contact who is less than 16 years old, but more than 12 years old.”
Bowen’s bio as an active public speaker is extensive. His talks at churches, conferences, school assemblies, and leadership seminars gave him a platform that reached upwards of 350,000 people. He also led a citywide student Bible study in Gadsden and was the host of xlroads TV, a broadcast viewed by millions of teens and adults in every city in America and over 170 countries around the world.
As AL.com points out, Bowen served as a chaplain in the Summer Olympic Games in London and authored the book Escape the Noise, which reached the New York Times Best Sellers List and the Amazon Top 100 list.
Watch a report on the story via WVTM 13 News:
Featured image via screen grab