John Martin, the lead pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Alabama, was arrested Friday — just days after confessing he’d molested at least one young boy from his congregation.
According to local news station WAFF48, the 41-year-old pastor from Florence, Ala., confessed to his congregation from the pulpit, after telling his wife. He called the abuse an “affair,” court records say. Before being arrested, he’d checked himself into a psychiatric unit and turned over two guns.
Martin abused at least one underage boy several times, at his home and on a road trip, and he also sent the boy explicit text messages, court records reveal.
Angie Hamilton, an assistant district attorney in Lauderdale County, said more victims could be involved. “We have identified several potential victims,” she told AL.com. “We believe other charges are forthcoming.”
Martin worked in other states before joining the Florence church in January 2010.
The Lighthouse Baptist Church in Florence is an extremely socially conservative church, according to its website, that encourages men to “dress in shirts and ties, while our ladies wear modest skirts and dresses.”
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.”
A picture on the church’s website shows the pastor with what appears to be his family: his wife, two young daughters and three sons.
“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!.” a note on the website read.
In a YouTube account under his name, Martin posted several videos with his wife and kids.
Martin also appears to be a teacher for VIP Kids, an online portal where he teaches English for Chinese-speaking kids. Some of the props he uses were made by his own children.
One video, from July 2017, shows what appears to be a church camp where several young boys are playing,
Martin is currently being held in the Lauderdale County jail with bail set at $60,000.
We’re not surprised one bit.