Another day, another antigay church leader busted for trying to buy sex on Grindr.
57-year-old Barry Cole Poyner of Kirksville, Missouri is an elder at the Kirksville Church of Christ, as well as a professor of communications at Truman State University.
The Kirksville Church of Christ likes to post things on Facebook about how terrible gay people are and how, if you have sex outside of marriage, you are a fornicator who is going to hell. You know, typical, run-of-the-mill Evangelical hate.
As is one of the church’s three elders, Poyner is responsible for stuff like coordinating vacation bible schools and offering marriage counseling, and he’s given a number of sermons preaching about the evils of homosexuality.
So it should come as no surprise that he was just slapped with a class B misdemeanor count of patronizing prostitution after police received a tip that he’d been “harassing male Truman students for sexual contact as well as offering to pay for items for sexual favors by using the app Grindr.”
Police set up a fake Grindr profile earlier this month. It didn’t take long for Poyner, using the handle “DILF,” to contact them, saying he “would love to have a sugar daddy relationship” and that in previous relationships he had given out gift cards, clothing, and even money to his young male partners.
“DILF” told an undercover officer that he would buy him a tank of gas and “might throw in an Arby’s card” in exchange for for sexual favors. They agreed to meet at a local gas station on December 3.
When police showed up, Poyner tried speeding away, but was pulled over a few blocks later. According to police documents, he told cops he “was not doing anything with a minor.”
When an officer informed him he was being busted for soliciting a prostitute, Poyner said he “was not going to do that” and “I was going to give him some gas.” When the officer told him that was tantamount to paying for sex, Poyner said he was only “trying to help.”
Poyner’s name and sermons have been scrubbed from Kirksville Church of Christ’s website. Meanwhile, Truman State University issued a statement Friday saying he’s been placed on suspension for the foreseeable future.
“He has been placed on suspension and informed that he is not allowed on campus, cannot have contact with any student organizations or participate in any campus events or activities,” the statement said.
If convicted, Poyner faces up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.