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Sexual abuse by pastor lasted months, years, alleged victims claim

Acton Bowen was arrested Tuesday in Etowah County after four new victims came forward claiming they were sexually abused by the pastor. (abc3340.com)

Acton Bowen's alleged victims claim the pastor sexually abused them for months or years in complaints which date back from 2006 to as recently as last week according to court records revealed Wednesday morning.

For three years beginning in 2006, Bowen engaged in a deviate sexual relationship with a teenager, an arrest warrant states. A separate warrant claims Bowen had a three-year sexual relationship with a teenager from 2014-2017. The most recent complaint alleges Bowen propositioned a teenager during a period beginning in January 2018 until just last week.

Bowen was arrested Tuesday and booked into the Etowah County Jail with two counts of second degree sodomy, two counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes - all felonies - and three counts of second degree sexual abuse, which is a misdemeanor.

The Etowah County Sheriff's Office says the charges are based off the alleged sexual abuse of four juveniles between the ages of 12-17. Some of the alleged abuse occurred a decade ago. Those alleged victims are now adults.

"Disappointed, some are angered, confused. Anytime you have a person who betrays themselve(s) to be of integrity, of character, of faith, and then to find out that it's all a lie? It's very disappointing," said Etowah County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Natalie Barton.

Authorities in Etowah County say they were contacted by the alleged victims after news of Bowen's initial arrest became public. Investigators raised the possibility Tuesday that the list of Bowen's accusers could continue to grow.

"We do believe that there are more victims out there. Some of them may choose to come forward on their own," said Barton.

Bowen was kept in a cell away from other inmates Tuesday as a precaution. The 37-year-old was booked on a $500,000 all-cash bond. Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin personally met with Bowen who surrendered peacefully to the sheriff at a mutually agreed on location Barton said.

On Thursday, Bowen's attorneys filed a suit seeking to have the conditions of his bond changed. The attorneys sought to have the bond amount lowered and the all-cash component removed.

Bowen's attorneys dismissed the most recent allegations as unsubstantiated rumors and promised that Bowen would weather the storm.

Tuesday's charges follow Bowen's arrest last week in Hoover on charges of 2nd degree sodomy, enticing a child to enter a vehicle, house, etc. for immoral purposes, and sexual abuse 2nd degree. The victim in that case was an underage family acquaintance and is currently doing well and has been in a safe environment since police were first notified.

The bad news for Bowen continued last Friday when his wife, Ashley Nabors Bowen, filed for divorce and claimed that she feared for her safety. An Etowah County judge Friday granted her immediate temporary exclusive possession of their home in Southside while restraining him and her from any contact or behavior intended to harass, threaten or intimidate the other.

Bowen's father, Paul Bowen, declined ABC 33/40 News' request for an interview Tuesday. Last week the older Bowen denied the charges against his son.

Bowen had worked as a youth minister nearly a decade ago at the CrossPoint Community Church before it closed. There he worked closely with students from Coosa Christian School where he also graduated. Bowen has spent much of his adult life mentoring young children, according to his father,.

"Parents encourage their children to be in Acton's presence and Acton's guidance and Acton's ministry because Acton has a passion for what he does and it's a God-given gift."

Bowen, a well known pastor and evangelist, is the founder of Acton Bowen Outreach Ministries. The Southside resident has served as a contributor on Fox News and has been reported to have served as a spiritual mentor to Hollywood celebrities including Justin Bieber.

The Etowah County Sheriff's Office asks that anyone with information related to the case call investigator Brandi Fuller at (256) 546-2825.

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