HOOVER, Alabama — A well-known evangelical pastor in Alabama has been busted on child sex abuse charges, police say.
Paul Edward Acton Bowen, the 37-year-old founder of Acton Bowen Outreach Ministries, was arrested on Tuesday on charges of second-degree sodomy, enticing a child to enter a vehicle or house for immoral purposes, and second-degree sex abuse.
Cops only described the victim as a male family acquaintance above the age of 12 but under 16.
“This is certainly one of the more disturbing cases that we’ve investigated in quite some time,” Hoover Police Capt. Gregg Rector told AL.com. “Mr. Bowen is in a highly-respected position of influence and he is trusted by many. We believe he betrayed that trust in the worst kind of way.”
Bowen was released Wednesday on $90,300 bond. In a statement, Bowen denied the allegations against him.
“I have not done what I am accused of and have not acted inappropriately in any way,” Bowen said. “My family and I trust the legal system and the people who are entrusted with the duty of protection each of our rights. I believe the truth will stand and I will be vindicated of this false accusation. We ask that each of you keep everyone involved in this process in your prayers.”
Bowen describes himself on his website as a speaker, best-selling author and visionary.
“Many words are used to describe him, but Acton Bowen’s only passion has been to connect people with the one, true God,” the website states. “Once recognized as one of the nation’s leading student pastors, God has clearly blessed Acton with the ability to reach today’s high tech, attention-lacking culture.”