Tipton County pastor faces 47 charges for alleged underage sex crimes
By Luke Jones, March 7, 2018, News Channel 3
ATOKA, Tenn. – A Tipton County pastor was booked into jail Tuesday afternoon, one day after a grand jury indicted him on 47 charges related to sexually abusing minors.
Ronnie Gorton, the former pastor of Awakening Church in Atoka, has been accused by three people so far, Tipton County Sheriff Chief Deputy Billy Daugherty confirmed.
One of Gorton’s alleged victims was under the age of 13, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Walking into jail Tuesday, 39-year-old Gorton kept his head down and wouldn’t answer reporters’ questions.
Gorton’s former Drummonds neighbors said he was known for keeping to himself, but they also couldn’t help but notice all of the young people who frequented the home he shared with his wife.
“We knew he had a church and, you know, he had boys over there a lot,” said neighbor Donnie Overbeck.
Sonja Young also remembers seeing boys at Gorton’s house going back several years and ending earlier this year.
“They were different boys. I mean, they would have a couple of them for a few months,” Young said.
“When they’re cutting the grass, three or four at any given time,” said Overbeck.
But Overbeck said it never struck him as anything sinister.
“Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. We thought, ‘Hey, he’s doing something good. He’s taking these kids in and doing good things,’” he said.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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