This week, two Alabama church officials were arrested and charged with possession and dissemination of child pornography and child sex abuse.
According to Huntsville’s WAAY Channel 31, the arrests of John Lindbergh Ellard Martin of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Madison County and pastor Jeffery Allen Elkins of the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ in Bridgeport brings the number of high-profile arrests for child sex crimes in Alabama to nine in the last four months.
“Nine officials have been arrested for crimes against children in the past four months alone, from church and school officials to lawyers and doctors,” wrote WAAY’s Megan Wiebold. “According to a national organization to end child sex abuse, Darkness2Light, 90 percent of children who are the victim of sex abuse know their offender.”
Officials from St. John the Baptist held a press conference Tuesday to discuss the allegations against Martin, who is accused of using computers at the church and in his home to procure and disseminate images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of minor children.
“Since John Martin came to work for us at St. John’s in our Adult Education Department, we have seen nothing that would lead us to believe the charges being made against him. We are stunned by the accusations,” said Pastor Phil O’Kennedy. “Of course we will continue to work with the authorities. We encourage any parishioner who may have any information about the accusation to come forward. And we will continue to pray for Mr. Martin and his family.”
The church said that it is cooperating fully with authorities in the matter.
In Jackson County, 55-year-old Elkins was arrested on Tuesday after a grand jury indicted him on charges of rape, attempted rape, and first degree sodomy. The charges stem from his arrest in March on charges of child sex abuse.
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