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Kentucky church hires sex offender to serve as pastor, pastor rapes 14-year-old

Registered sex offender was allowed to preach at Kentucky's New Gospel Outreach Church because "the Bible teaches forgiveness."
By Matt Bradwell   |   July 9, 2014 at 4:15 PM

SCOTTSVILLE, Ky., July 9 (UPI) -- Tennessee police arrested 46-year-old Christian pastor Roy Neal Yoakem in Kentucky Monday for allegedly raping a 14-year-old member of his congregation.

Police say Yoakem sexually assaulted the boy at least twice, once at the New Gospel Outreach Church in Scottsville, Kentucky and once at his home in Gallatin, Tennessee. Kentucky police initially arrested Yoakem in June, but he was arrested again Monday as charges continued to mount and his past history came to light.

In 2005, Yoakem was convicted for sexually abusing an 8-year-old boy and had to register in Tennessee as a sex offender. He was eventually moved to the New Gospel Outreach Church and allowed to continue preaching because, as interim pastor Stephen Bratcher told WKRN, "The Bible teaches forgiveness and to give people chances and not to turn people away."

"If there [was] anything I can do to go back and change it I would."

Yoakem is currently charged with aggravated statutory rape, sexual battery by an authority figure, statutory rape by an authority figure and fugitive from justice.

"We are not aware of any additional victims at this time, but because of his position of authority in a church certainly if someone becomes aware or suspicious that their child might be a victim, then we need to talk to them," a police spokesman said.

Yoakem is being held in Tennessee on $250,000 bond.

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