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.

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