Lighthouse Baptist Pastor John Martin Faces 4 Sex Abuse Charges
Lighthouse Baptist Church pastor John Thomas Martin was arrested on Friday, July 5 on four charges of first-degree sexual abuse. According to Lauderdale Couty Assistant District Attorney Angie Hamilton, church members reported Martin after he admitted to sexually abusing young men when he resigned from the church on June 23.
A representative from the church contacted a representative with the Department of Human Resources and reported that Martin had told the congregation that he had “disgraced his family name because he had sex with two boys.”
One victim was “in either 6th or 7th grade” when Martin began sexually abusing him, according to a case summary from the Lauderdale County sheriff. Court documents allege that Martin sexually abused the boy several times, including during camping trips at Martin’s home and in a van during an overnight out-of-state trip.
Martin was also a school bus driver for Florence City Schools. The boy says that Martin also showed him nude photos of himself in a towel while they were on the bus. The boy also says that Martin would frequently text him to ask if he had touched himself that day.
He is being held on a $60,000 bond. If he posts bond, he is forbidden from having contact with the victims or any other children. He is also not permitted to leave Lauderdale County and must wear a GPS ankle monitor.
The Lauderdale County District Attorney’s Office believes there may be other victims. They have encouraged parents to talk with their kids if they had interacted with Martin. The office is also contacting other states where Martin previously served as a pastor.
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Justice For Victims of Clergy Sex Abuse
Attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com has dedicated his career to helping survivors of sexual abuse find justice – first as a prosecutor, and now as a civil attorney representing survivors in lawsuits. Brian has offered to share some general thoughts on the legal options available to survivors of clergy sex abuse:
Sexual abuse by religious clergy members is a widespread crisis, affecting a wide range of religious organizations. Sadly, sexual predators are often found in positions of trust and authority, including religious communities. These predators take advantage of this trust and authority in order to commit terrible crimes.
The victims of these heinous crimes deserve justice for the trauma they’ve suffered, which can affect them for the rest of their lives. Churches have a responsibility to keep their congregation members safe from sexual predators. Those who fail to do so can be held liable if the victims and their families decide to take legal action.
Filing a lawsuit against a religious organization for sexual abuse can help provide answers and financial support for victims, along with demanding accountability from negligent organizations who failed in their legal duty to protect their followers. Additionally, taking legal action can help prevent others from suffering abuse.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by a Baptist church clergy member, you can learn more about your family’s legal options by speaking with one of our experienced sex abuse survivors lawyers in a free consultation.
Location of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Florence, AL
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