MONTGOMERY, Ala., Oct. 9 (UPI) -- A veteran Baptist pastor in Montgomery has stepped down from church leadership in disgrace, after admitting from the pulpit he had affairs with female members of his congregation while knowingly having AIDS.
On September 14, then-Pastor Juan Demetrius McFarland confessed to the congregation of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church to knowing of his condition since 2008 and not revealing it to the women with whom he had sex.
"[McFarland] concealed from the church that he had knowingly engaged in adultery in the church building with female members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church while knowingly having AIDS," church deacon Nathan Williams Jr. confirmed to WSFA.
While many in the church want to proceed with caution in disciplining McFarland and mending their community, others are outraged and wish to see McFarland handled by the courts, with no special treatment from authorities or the community.
"I believe that he should be put on trial," said an anonymous church member.
"Go to court and let the judge decide if he should go to jail or not. We tend to sweep things under the rug, especially if they're the leader. It's like oh, no, please let's not get this out but I think after this that they will have more discussions on HIV and AIDS."
For those involved with McFarland, the disgraced former pastor's punishment is an after thought, as they now live with uncertainty while the await the results of HIV testing.
"I know a young lady who is a member of the church who says she has slept with him and that she didn't want this to go public, and she running out now trying to find out if there is anything wrong with her. And my heart goes out to her because she's been a wonderful church member, and then for something like this to happen."
Although transmitting a sexually-transmitted disease is a class C misdemeanor in Montgomery, no charges have been filed against McFarland.