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Alabama Supreme Court Denies Review for Evangelist Serving 1,008-Year Term for Child Rape

The Alabama State Supreme Court has declined a request to review the case of former youth pastor and evangelist Acton Bowen, who is currently serving a maximum 1,008-year prison term after pleading guilty in January 2020 to 28 charges of raping and sexually assaulting young boys he reached through his ministry.

Victims claimed that Bowen had sexually abused them starting in 2006 and as recently as April 2018, ABC affiliate WBMA reported. The victims said Bowen manipulated them by taking them on trips, buying them clothing, and giving them money.

Before his arrest, Bowen ran an outreach ministry that included regular speaking engagements and a television show.

He had previously served as a youth minister of CrossPoint Community Church in Gadsden, Ala., where he worked closely with students from Coosa Christian School,

and on the staff at Christ City Church in Birmingham, Ala. At one point his work computer was reportedly placed under an electronic watch after he was caught viewing pornography.

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Bowen also served as a chaplain for the 2012 Olympics in London and said he was as a spiritual adviser to celebrities including Justin Bieber.

Bowen’s attorney argued that the former youth pastor suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder because he had been a victim of sexual abuse as a teenager. Bowen admitted to addictions to alcohol, drugs, and pornography and apologized to the victims and his family before the sentence was announced. 

“My heart has never wanted to hurt anyone, but my mind is not well,” Bowen said in December 2019.

Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.