Communities impacted by sexual investigations and charges can take years or even decades to recover. For those who are under investigation, the allegations, interrogation, criminal charges, and subsequent penalties upon conviction can be a lifetime struggle. In a recentAlabama case, a former pastor charged with sex crimes appeared at a hearing this month. The pastor has been accused of sex crimes by two adults who were children when they claimed they were abused.
Sex crimes charges and allegations can become more complicated when law enforcement is looking for evidence in an attempt to patch a case together, long after alleged crimes have occurred. Memories can shift, witnesses may be lost, and it can be difficult to locate or gather any real evidence. Our Birmingham sex crimes defense attorneys are experienced in representing defendants in complex sex crimes cases. We understand the sensitive nature of these cases and will treat every alleged sex offender with dignity in handling every case with discretion. While sex crimes should not go unpunished, the accused deserve a fair trial to ensure proper conviction and should not be over-penalized for their offenses.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reports that it initiated investigation last spring after a man reported that he was molested by the pastor. Another woman also came forward to police and claimed that she had been arrested by the pastor. At the time the investigation took place, the pastor was serving at a local Baptist Church. He was arrested last month and the church subsequently cut off all ties. After the church was notified of the criminal charges, his employment was terminated and he made no further comment on the allegations. The pastor worked at a local hospital and was placed on leave until the criminal matter has been resolved.
The judge granted a motion to postpone the hearing. The defense attorney on behalf of the pastor requested postponement so that the defense had more time to investigate the allegations. According to the defense, more time was necessary to make make the best decisions and prepare a defense. The allegations involve events that occurred nearly a decade ago. The defense has raised questions about the delay in reporting the abuse and questions the reason why the allegations are only surfacing now. No other allegations of sex crimes were on record in the church or the local police department.
According to the defense, the pastor has maintained his innocence. In the courtroom he was supported by his wife and other relatives. The pastor has been out of jail on a $70,000 bond while his attorney investigates and prepares a defense. In cases involving sex crimes allegations, the defendant is already being punished by public scrutiny and will face a stigma regardless of whether he is found guilty. It is critical in sex crimes cases to thoroughly investigate allegations, consult with witnesses and experts, and to prepare the best possible defense.