STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

WAAY 31 I-TEAM: Report details sex abuse charges against Florence pastor

John Thomas Martin, who until June 23 was the pastor at Lighthouse Baptist Church, was arrested Friday on four charges of first-degree sexual abuse.

Posted: Jul 2, 2019 1:53 PM
Updated: Jul 3, 2019 7:54 PM

Documents filed in the arrest of Florence pastor John Thomas Martin reveal new details about the charges he faces.

Martin, who until June 23 was the pastor at Lighthouse Baptist Church, was arrested Friday on four charges of first-degree sexual abuse.

John Martin

His victim, according to a case summary from the Lauderdale County sheriff, was “in either 6th or 7th grade” the first time Martin sexually assaulted him. 

Occasions when Martin is said to have performed sex acts on the now-teenage boy from his church, and forced the victim to do the same to him, are detailed in the report.

Court documents say the victim said when everyone had gone to sleep during camping trips at the Martin family home for his son's birthday, Martin would get in the victim's tent and touch him. On another occasion, the victim said they were in a van on an overnight trip out-of-state when Martin touched him again.

The report says the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office became aware of the allegations against Martin via a report to the Department of Human Resources.

WAAY 31 also learned Martin was a school bus driver for Florence City Schools. The school system wasn't sure for how long, because they contract drivers through a company named First Student. We have reached out to that company to see how long Martin was a bus driver, but haven't heard back.

The accuser claims he was on Martin's school bus when Martin showed him nude photos of himself with a towel over his body. The victim also stated Martin would text him on various occasions and asked him if he had touched himself that day. The victim said he was always scared to come forward and would freeze up when Martin would touch him.

A church representative contacted a DHR worker and said Martin told the church congregation on June 23 that he had “disgraced his family name because he had sex with two boys.”

“After telling the church what he had done, Mr. Martin went to the North Alabama Medical Center and voluntarily committed himself into the psychiatric unit and turned over two pistols to the medical staff,” the report says.

In a statement to the sheriff’s office, the report says Martin had earlier asked his wife to take his pistol from him “because he had been holding it to his head and contemplating suicide.”

Martin is being held on a $60,000 bond.

If he posts bond, he is not allowed to have contact with the victims or any minor children. He also is not allowed to leave Lauderdale County, and must wear a GPS ankle monitor so his location can be tracked at all times.

The Lauderdale County District Attorney's Office tells WAAY 31 there could be other victims. It's asking parents to talk with their children if they came into contact with Martin. It's also contacting other states where Martin had previously been a pastor.

From earlier: Florence pastor charged with sexual abuse

Click to Submit Photo

 

 

Huntsville
Few Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 64°
Florence
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 64°
Fayetteville
Broken Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 64°
Decatur
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 65°
Scottsboro
Overcast
61° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 61°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 154942

Reported Deaths: 2660
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
Calhoun418960
Etowah418749
Morgan403635
Houston369232
DeKalb330229
Elmore314852
St. Clair287142
Limestone276530
Walker272293
Talladega261035
Cullman235724
Lauderdale214841
Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
Cleburne5438
Macon52920
Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
Coosa2023
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 237907

Reported Deaths: 3011
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby34892558
Davidson30302330
Knox1217488
Hamilton11368105
Rutherford11274110
Williamson680255
Sumner5788108
Wilson451455
Putnam425754
Montgomery398851
Out of TN382836
Unassigned38224
Madison369679
Bradley347923
Sullivan339546
Sevier324121
Washington324146
Blount319132
Maury313937
Robertson253741
Hamblen237943
Tipton226022
Dyer209627
Gibson208238
Hardeman182132
Coffee179920
Trousdale17517
Obion167820
Greene161851
Bedford161720
Anderson161114
Fayette160522
Dickson160419
Wayne15697
Loudon156610
McMinn156433
Cumberland156124
Lawrence152618
Jefferson149220
Weakley146725
Carter146532
Monroe139528
Warren138710
Henderson137925
Lauderdale136717
Hardin135219
Macon128625
Franklin124416
Roane12237
Haywood121027
Overton116512
Hawkins114224
White113314
Johnson11177
Carroll110525
McNairy109926
Marshall10859
Rhea106316
Cheatham100011
Bledsoe9994
Lake9753
Cocke96612
Smith96212
Giles92134
Campbell9118
Fentress8778
Lincoln8363
Crockett80320
Henry75610
Hickman75113
Marion7249
Chester71514
DeKalb69017
Decatur64811
Grainger5514
Grundy53511
Union5173
Claiborne5086
Polk48313
Jackson4345
Humphreys4244
Morgan4227
Houston39915
Benton3979
Cannon3962
Unicoi3842
Clay38314
Lewis3602
Scott3514
Sequatchie3294
Stewart3128
Meigs3005
Perry2611
Moore2542
Pickett2527
Van Buren1971
Hancock1133

Community Events