A popular Alabama Evangelist, author and public speaker was arrested on child sex charges. Paul Edward Acton Bowen, 37, the founder of Acton Bowen Outreach Ministries, was taken into custody on April 10 and charged with enticing a child to enter a vehicle or house for immoral purposes, second-degree sex abuse and second-degree sodomy, AL.com reported. The victim was a male family friend and between the age of 12 and 16.
Local Hoover police Captain Gregg Rector said the investigation into Bowen's activities started three weeks ago.
"This is certainly one of the more disturbing cases that we've investigated in quite some time,'' Rector said, according to 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 put in jail, but he posted a $90,300 bond and was released early on April 11.
The website for Bowen's organization was taken down, but AL.com reported that his bio on the site read:
"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 stated, according to AL.com. "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."
Bowen is also an author of two books. One is called "Moment," about the Bible and how lives can change quickly, and the other is a devotional for students called "Escape The Noise." The reviews were mostly positive until recently, with people commenting about the recent allegations and some calling Bowen a hypocrite, among other things.
Bowen's Twitter page was still active on Thursday, where he has almost 16,000 followers. He writes about sports and other random topics, but he also gives his opinions on social issues as well.
He was the co-host of a show called "Top3" on the JuceTV Network in New York City and a regular contributor to Fox News as a correspondent on faith and religion, his website said, according to AL.com. When the news organization asked network officials about Bowen, however, they said he has never been employed or paid by the network.
Bowen released a statement on April 11 denying the charges.
"I have not done what I am accused of and have not acted inappropriately in any way,'' Bowen said, according to AL.com. "My family and I trust the legal system and the people who are entrusted with the duty of protecting 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."
[Photo: Hoover Police Department]