In statements to local news outlets, authorities revealed that Ronnie Gorton, lead pastor of The Awakening Church in Atoka, Tennessee, has been taken into custody for a psychiatric evaluation after allegedly becoming suicidal and threatening to take his life after recent allegation that he raped two underage boys.
Tipton County investigators told WMCActionNews5 that an anonymous 17-year-old boy made statements last week alleging that Gorton, 39, sexually assaulted, molested, and raped him on several occasions. The Atoka Police Department reported receiving a similar complaint from a 20-year-old man who alleged that Gorton sexually assaulted him when he was a minor.
Billy Daugherty, Tipton County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy, told The Leader that the latest instance of alleged assault by Gorton took place on Jan. 31 and that the case is a multijurisdictional investigation.
“There’s an allegation in the county and an allegation in Atoka,” Daugherty said, adding that there was “nothing to indicate” any of the incidents occurred within the church.
Daugherty further explained that no criminal charges have been filed against the pastor. He was, however, taken into custody after meeting with detectives last Wednesday when a friend of Gorton’s reported that he was armed with a handgun and had threatened to commit suicide.
Daugherty also noted the natural reaction of members of the church and community to be alarmed by the allegations: “Anytime there’s an allegation of sexual misconduct it’s alarming. Again, especially when it’s someone in a position of authority, people that we trust.”
- Psalms 118:8- It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
- Micah 7:5- Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide; keep the doors of thy mouth from her that, lieth in they bosom.
- Jeremiah 17:5- Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
- Galatians 6:3- For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.