Former pastor sentenced for child sexual abuse

Florence, Alabama: A former pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church has been sentenced to prison following pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

 

He plead guilty last month and was sentenced on Tuesday, July 19.

 

John Thomas Martin, 44, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for each of the three counts. Those sentenced were split according to Coty Hand, Assistant District Attorney for Lauderdale County, with Martin serving two years consecutively for each sentence for a total of six years.

 

Following his release, Martin will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

 

Prosecutors indicated that the victims were consulted concerning the prison sentence.

 

Martin had been the head pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church for nine years before his resignation on June 23, 2019 following admitting to church members that he had "disgraced his family name because he had sex with two boys."

 

Following the confession, church members immediately reached out to One Place of the Shoals, a family justice center affiliated with the county DA.

 

Martin was arrested a week after the confession as he had checked himself into a psychiatric unit at North Alabama Medical Center, according to Newsweek, and turned over possession of two firearms  stating that he had been "contemplating suicide."

 

He was initially charged with four counts of felony sexual abuse with a minor under the age of 16.

 

In addressing Martin's sentencing, WHNT stated that they learned that Martin was also under investigation  for similar allegations in Murfeesboro, Tennessee, where he had served as a youth pastor in 2004 at Bellwood Baptist Church.

 

The status of that investigation is unclear.

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