The pastor of a Baptist church in Alabama has been arrested after admitting to his entire congregation that he molested at least one young boy from the church on multiple occasions.
41-year-old John Martin is a married father of five and the lead pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church where he has regularly preached about the evils of homosexuality since 2010.
On Monday, he confessed to four counts of child sexual abuse after church members reported him to authorities.
According to local news station WAFF48, Martin first made the confession from the pulpit during a Sunday sermon in June. According to court records, he told churchgoers that his molestation of the boy child was an “affair.”
Martin said the abuse happened on multiple occasions at his home and on a road trip. He also sent the boy explicit text messages.
After sharing the story with stunned churchgoers, the pastor checked himself into a psychiatric unit and turned over two guns.
According to its website, Lighthouse Baptist Church believes that marriage is “between a man and a woman” and that “intimate sexual activity” that happens outside of a marriage is a sin.
It goes on to say: “We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex.”
A photo on the church’s website shows Marin and his family–his wife and their two young daughters and three sons–along with a memo that reads: “We are proud to have Pastor Martin and his family with us. Since Pastor Martin came to Lighthouse, we have seen a growth that can only come from God. Pastor and his family would love for you to visit Lighthouse Baptist Church very soon!”
Angie Hamilton, an assistant district attorney in Lauderdale County, says more victims may be involved.
“We have identified several potential victims,” she told local media this week. “We believe other charges are forthcoming.”
Martin is currently being held in the Lauderdale County jail. His bail is set at $60,000.