A prominent Alabama youth pastor who founded his own ministry and who has ties to several high-profile figures in the evangelical community has been accused of molesting a teen boy, police say. Few details about the case and the victim have been released to protect the boy’s privacy, but he is between the ages of 13 to 16, and is a family acquaintance of the suspect, according to police.
Acton Bowen, 37, was arrested Tuesday on charges of second-degree sodomy, enticing a child to enter a vehicle or house for immoral purposes, and second-degree sex abuse, AL.com reports. Bowen, a married author, public speaker, minister and founder of Acton Bowen Outreach, lives in Southside, Alabama, in Etowah County. He was arrested by the Hoover Police Department and the case is being prosecuted by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Say Bowen, Who Faces Up to 31 Years in Prison Was ‘Trusted by Many’ & ‘Betrayed That Trust in the Worst Kind of Way,’ While the Boy Was ‘Brave’ to Come Forward
A well-known youth evangelist was booked into the Jefferson County jail overnight. Police say Acton Bowen is accused of sexually abusing a family member under the age of 16. Hear more on the case coming up this morning on @WVTM13 pic.twitter.com/uw5qYIzOeP
— Sarah Killian (@SarahWVTM13) April 11, 2018
Police say that Bowen, whose full name is Paul Edward Acton Bowen, was arrested on April 10 after an investigation that began three weeks ago, according to AL.com. Warrants for Bowen’s arrest were issued on Monday, April 9, in Jefferson County, police told the newspaper.
“This is certainly one of the more disturbing cases that we’ve investigated in quite some time,” Hoover Police Captain Greg Rector told AL.com. “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.”
Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis told the newspaper, “When we first learned of these accusations we wanted to make sure we investigated thoroughly in order to get the truth. The victim in this case is a brave young man and he should be commended for coming forward. He and his family deserve our best effort and we believe that we’ve accomplished that. We will continue to work on their behalf as this troubling case progresses.”
Rector said the victim, who is a family acquaintance of Bowen, “is currently doing well and has been in a safe environment since police were first notified.”
Bowen faces up to 31 years in prison if convicted of the three charges against him. The second-degree sodomy is a felony that carries between 2 to 20 years in prison. Enticing a child to enter a vehicle or house for immoral purposes is also a felony with a potential penalty of 1 to 10 years in prison, while second-degree sexual abuse is a misdemeanor carrying a potential year in jail.
According to state law, a …read more