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Methodist Youth Pastor Arrested for Child Porn

An investigation by the FBI and state officials led to the July 15 arrest of 23-year-old Rev. Thomas “Tag” Allen Gatlin, an assistant youth pastor at First Methodist Church in New Albany, Miss. His arrest on child pornography charges was first reported by NEMiss.NEWS, a locally owned online news outlet.

The church, which was founded in 1886, issued a statement from Senior Pastor Tim Prather, who called Gatlin’s arrest “a painful and difficult situation” for the congregation. “We keep them in our prayers as we pray for justice,” he said, adding:

“Rev. Gatlin was removed from his appointments effective immediately soon after conference and church leadership were informed of the allegation against him. The Mississippi Conference will take care of the pastoral needs of the congregations where he served.

This is a very serious allegation. We affirm what is written in The United Methodist Social Principles, which states that ‘children must be protected from economic, physical, emotional and sexual exploitation and abuse.’ The Mississippi Conference is committed to fully cooperate with law enforcement personnel.”

The New Albany Gazette reported that the FBI worked with Mississippi’s Attorney General Cyber Crime Division, which was established in 2000, to investigate the sexual exploitation of children online and assist state law enforcement agencies on criminal use of technology.

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Steve Rabey

Steve Rabey is a veteran author and journalist who has published more than 50 books and 2,000 articles about religion, spirituality, and culture. He was an instructor at Fuller and Denver seminaries and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He and his wife Lois live in Colorado.

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