An evangelical youth pastor in Alabama has been arrested on child sex abuse charges in connection to his assault of a boy who hadn’t even turned 16 yet.
Acton Bowen, an author, public speaker, and evangelist with ties to failed Senate candidate Roy Moore, was taken into custody after being charged with second-degree sodomy, enticing a child to enter a vehicle or house for immoral purposes, and second-degree abuse.
Hoover police Capt. Gregg Rector said the department’s Special Victim’s Unit first launched an investigation three weeks ago. The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office issued the warrants on Monday.
“This is certainly one of the more disturbing cases that we’ve investigated in quite some time,” 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.”
Rector said the victim in this case is an underage family acquaintance, “He is currently doing well and has been in a safe environment since police were first notified,” Rector said.
This case sounds eerily reminiscent of what happened with Roy Moore, a fellow Christian right figure from Alabama. Moore and Bowen share something else, too: a lawyer.
The state legal documents of incorporation for the ministry were prepared by Gadsden attorney Trenton Garmon, who was listed as a member of the board of directors for Acton Bowen Outreach. Garmon also worked as an attorney for former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore of Etowah County during his failed campaign for U.S. senate last year. Garmon wrote a letter on Moore’s behalf threatening legal action against AL.com for reporting on allegations of sexual misconduct by Moore.
Bowen isn’t just an author. He’s a bestselling author with two books aimed at children, including Escape the Noise: A Thirty-Day Devotional Journey for Students, and a former chaplain in the Summer Olympic Games in London. His now-deleted ministry website said he speaks up to 20 times a month at churches and other events, and has a reach of more than 350,000 people.
The child’s identity isn’t being released, and other details are being kept under wraps during the ongoing investigation. Bowen didn’t shed any more light on the subject with his statement, in which he said he was hurt, confused, and heartbroken over the allegations.
“I have not done what I am accused of and have not acted inappropriately in any way,” Bowen said in a press statement issued Wednesday night. “My family and I trust the legal system and the people who are entrusted with the duty of protecting each of our rights. I believe the truth will stand and I will be vindicated of this false accusation. We ask that each of you keep everyone involved in this process in your prayers.”
That doesn’t explain much… but local police had enough evidence to arrest him, so we will see how this all plays out in court. Bowen’s faith will be tested. That much is certain.
(Thanks to Mathew for the link)