Tennessee pastor allegedly abused three young boys

Tennessee pastor allegedly abused three young boys March 10, 2018

Ronnie Gorton, above, a married father and lead pastor of The Awakening Church in Atoka, Tennessee, was indicted this week on 47 counts of illegal relations with three underage boys.
Among the charges, according to this report, are five counts of aggravated sexual battery, 17 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child, 16 counts of statutory rape by an authority figure, two counts of exploitation of a minor by electronic means, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, two counts of purchasing alcohol for a child, and one count of rape.
Tipton County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Billy Daugherty said:

The nature of these charges clearly indicate the victims, at some point, were under the age of 13. The age of consent in Tennessee is 18.

Gorton’s neighbors in Drummonds said  they were surprised by the charges against him. One, Donnie Overbeck, said:

We knew he had a church and, you know, he had boys over there a lot. We thought, ‘Hey, he’s doing something good. He’s taking these kids in and doing good things.

Tipton County investigators said last month that that a 17-year-old boy came forward to allege that Gorton, 39, who has been married to his wife, Rhonda, for 15 years, sexually assaulted, molested, and raped him on multiple occasions. The Atoka Police Department also reported receiving a similar charge from a 20-year-old man who alleged that Gorton sexually assaulted him when he was underage.
Daugherty said that the latest instance of alleged assault by the preacher took place on January  31 and the case is a multi-jurisdictional investigation.

There’s an allegation in the county and an allegation in Atoka. But there’s nothing to indicate anything took place at the church.

In a statement to The Christian Post last month, Rhonda said while she knew nothing about the charges against her husband, she had moved out of their marital home and filed for divorce last December due to abuse.
Ronnie and Rhonda Gorton

I moved out of the house and filed for divorce in December after enduring years of abuse myself and knowing nothing about the current charges.

In a series of tweets just days before Rhonda’s statement, Christian blogger April Persisting said Gorton and his wife once attended the same church she attended and she always sensed he abused her.

Let me tell you about Ronnie Gorton. He came to my church when he was 23, newly graduated from Bible school, dating a sweet young woman that he soon married. I was just out of high school.
He caused a bit of a stir when he showed up, because my church didn’t have tons of eligible young Christian men, and he was relative good looking. But when I interacted with him, I came away feeling cold and unimpressed.

After accusations were made against him, it was reported that Gorton had been taken in for a psychiatric evaluation for allegedly threatening to commit suicide.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn

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  • gary

    Can anyone in the USA, I mean anyone, start up a church in the USA, nominate themselves a pastor and start raking in the dosh and behaving very badly in private whilst showing a devout pious face outwardly?

  • gary

    OT but this shows that the Good Ole US of A is fucked up 100%.
    Florida shooting: NRA sues as Florida enacts gun-control law – BBC News
    The Land of the Free?
    Yeah Right.
    The Land of Gun Totin’, Lard Arsed, Paunchy, Red Neck, Under Educated, Fish Belly White, Big Mouthed God Fearing Nutters.
    “My name is Bubba T Flubba III and I have the god given right to stuff my fat face with burgers and gallons of horse piss beer until my XXXX Large Super Rivetted Heavy Duty Levi Jeans split asunder cos my fat arse don’t fit and its my god given right to blow your fuckin brains out with my laser sighted magnum assaulting gun if you don’t agree with what ever bigotted shite I spew out of my big mouth”.

  • John the Drunkard

    Yes, absolutely anyone can declare themselves a pastor and start their own cult. This is, so far, part of the price of church-state separation.
    Ride through any depressed area in an American city. The store-front churches are more numerous than saloons. And usually a greater blight.

  • Broga

    gary: The USA is so fucked up they don’t know it because they see the catastrophe around them as normal. More than one third obese, 29 million with diabetes and perhaps 8 million undiagnosed, the doctors in thrall to Big Pharma and Big Food successful in persuading people that food that is crippling them is healthy.
    There is a significant group of educated fit people who know the score and that should be recognised.

  • barriejohn

    Every time I see the word “vibe” I think immediately of David Brent. They’re so right on it hurts!

  • barriejohn

    I’ve just twigged that that FaithStreet site is all about soliciting donations to the featured churches (“It’s online giving, not online paying”).
    Resisting materialism, consumerism, and selfishness is hard. We give you the tools to fight the good fight. Allow givers to set-up recurring and one-time donations via web, mobile or text. No checks or cash required.
    It really IS like an online version of The Office, only religious!

  • 1859

    I don’t think we find this sort of behaviour only in the USA. Look what’s happening in Africa, in Russia and Poland, in South and Central America, in India and Pakistan, the Philipenes – all these countries are crammed full with poor, impoverished, uneducated people whose gullibility is exploited to the full by their religious masters. Of course this phenomenon is possible anywhere, but in those countries with more educated populations (like those of Scandinavia etc.), people are generally far less gullible and far more sceptical of anyone who turns up on their doorstep begging for money in the name of a god. And of course it is in the interest of religious groups that people remain ignorant, gullible and poor because thinking, educated people are far less likely to believe in religious fairies. But all of this is common sense – however it often amazes me that we are still fighting, after maybe three centuries, for the cause of
    clear, common, rational sense.

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    @1859 “all these countries are crammed full with poor, impoverished, uneducated people whose gullibility is exploited to the full by their religious masters”. Rightly said, if God was for real and so kind hearted as preached by these religious priests and pastors then there would be no human suffering on this planet. The establishment wants to maintain the status quo because it serves the political class and their partners-in-crime the so called ‘holy men and women’ to keep masses chained to religion and keep screwing their bodies, minds and wallets.

  • Broga

    Gaurav Tyagi “all these countries are crammed full with poor, impoverished, uneducated people whose gullibility is exploited to the full by their religious masters”.
    Is this the base that gives Trump power with no understanding by them of what is happening to the USA? A nasty little Korean dictator, who keeps his people in poverty, and Trump hails a possible meeting with this contemptible thug as a triumph. Kimmy can now project himself as doing business with the most powerful nation on equal terms. Trump’s religious base deep in their fantasies howl with delight.
    Trump has already expressed enthusiasm for a President to have no limit to his terms in power. You can see the way he wants to go.

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    Trump is nothing special. Most of the Politicians around the world depend on crony capitalists. These business people get plum govt. contracts and easy access to ‘corridors of power.’
    These businessmen give hefty political donations. A major part of which gets routed to places like Cayman Islands, Bahamas etc. in the numbered accounts of politicians in power.
    In Trump’s case, he is a billionaire businessman himself and as such don’t have any dearth of funds. This is the main reason, he keeps coming up with absurd statements.
    I am not a fan of North Korean Kim Jong Un but let’s go to the root cause of U.S. and North Korea’s tensions.
    It’s the so called Nuclear programme of North Korea. U.S itself has thousands of Nuclear weapons so, what gives American government the moral authority of preaching to the North Koreans, what they themselves are guilty of i.e, Nuclear proliferation.
    What and who gives the right to the Americans for acting as global cops?

  • barriejohn

    We’re getting a bit OT here, but this video has gone viral now, and is very disturbing:
    I wouldn’t be surprised to see “Trump Supporters” threatening people who wear spectacles next!

  • barriejohn

    Broga: The Chinese have voted to remove term limits for their leader!

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    @barriejohn, Hahaha, I have been living in China since 2014. This is completely a market economy except for the political freedom part but a majority of Chinese do not even care for politics. I always joke with my wife (she’s Chinese) that in India people are obsessed with Religion and one sees temples, mosques and churches in every nook and corner similarly in China people are obsessed with shopping and there are shopping malls everywhere.

  • barriejohn

    Gaurav: My parents spent several years in China in the 1980s. What a change now! The Chinese people have had no experience of politics, as they were always told what to do – even (especially?) at local level. Maybe the younger generation – especially with internet access – will demand a bigger say in what happens in their country. I appreciate the problem of governing such a huge country, with all its baggage from the past, but things do need to change.

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    Actually to be honest, whatever progress China has made is due to the country not having ‘Western Style Democracy’.
    Being a keen observer of both Indian as well as Chinese societies. I can say with 100% conviction that had China, followed Western style electoral politics. This country would have been in a similar mess like India.
    The main reason being that in both China and India, there are many ethnic groups, in China no one dares to even speak loudly against the Communist Party of China due to fear.
    In India, anyone can start a political party with even 4-5 local hooligans, indulge in blocking railway tracks, roads etc.
    There are hundreds of Indian politicians, who started their life as petty criminals like pickpockets and also hundreds of ‘mafia Godfather’ like politicians in the country.
    Their sole agenda is to maintain their grip on society through money and muscle power therefore, I do not foresee any progress in Indian society.
    Chinese on the other hand are ruthless in curbing any dissent therefore, bulk of Chinese youngsters do not dare to dabble in argumentative politics.
    The current Chinese President and most of the CPC top brass,(in their 60’s) their fathers were the founding members of the Communist party of China.
    As I mentioned previously in one of my comments, in this world it’s not what you know but who you know which determines your progress, being only in my early 40’s this fact is highly frustrating for me.

  • Broga

    Meanwhile, Teresa May and those around her actually think that Putin and others like him give a toss about the UK and its Empire. I heard one of them about a week ago insisting that we must ensure that British “values” which have been so important over the centuries continue.
    The kind of values that denied women the vote and force fed them with tubes up their noses when they went on hunger strike. Or children sent down the pits and up chimneys. And the rest. He needs to read some history.

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    British Imperialism didn’t end with Britain leaving their erstwhile so called colonies. All Ex- British colonies still suffer from colonial ‘hangover’ characterized by a highly corrupt political class and an equally corrupt bureaucracy as well as judiciary, which only serves their political masters. Add religion as well to the above deadly cocktail. British ‘values’ indeed.

  • gary

    I don’t think you can blame the appalling corruption endemic in say Pakistan that riddles the Military, the Government, Civil Service, Business, Education, Public Services, Security Services, Private Business … in short EVERYTHING … upon British Colonialism. Lay the blame fairly at the feet of islamic dogma, which is a the very root of the existence of the country in the very first place. Pakistan and everyone in positions of even minor authority are on the make whilst the Pakistani Government / Military is a money pit for the $Billions of Foreign Aid which pours into the pockets of corrupt shameless greedy officials.

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    @Gary, while I agree with your point about Islamic dogma. The role of British ‘divide and rule’ policy in the colonies being a mess cannot be denied. On the subject of Pakistan as well as India here are two write-ups of mine.

  • barriejohn

    To say nothing of the fact that the Third World is still tied in to the export of cash crops and mineral resources to the Developed World, while their people are poverty-stricken and, in many cases, hungry. It’s just a continuation of the old system, even though they technically govern themselves!

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    @barriejohn, your statement ‘even though they technically govern themselves’ is spot on. There are many businessmen from India, who in connivance with the political class and the bankers took Billions in bank loans from state owned govt. banks in India. They ran off with all the money and are leading a royal life in Britain enjoying tea and whisky with the British royalty.