GADSDEN, Ala. — Acton Bowen, the evangelist who served as a youth minister for teenage boys and became a best selling author plead guilty Monday to sexual abuse charges involving six victims in Etowah County.
Bowen was scheduled to stand trial on Monday. The victims were in the courtroom when Bowen entered his plea according to Etowah County District Attorney Jody Willooughby.
The alleged victims claimed the now 38-year-old evangelist sexually abused them for months or in some cases, years. The complaints were dated from 2006 to as recently as April 2018.
The investigation into Bowen's life began after was arrested in Jefferson County after a three week investigation by Hoover Police Department's special victims unit. Police said the victim was a teenage family acquaintance.
Bowen was also charged with lewd or lascivious battery in Bay County, Florida according to the local sheriff's office after the FBI began helping local law enforcement investigating Bowen's trips with teenage boys across state lines. It was unclear if the charge in Florida was related to another alleged victim.
The cases in Jefferson County, Alabama and Bay County, Florida are still pending.
The news of Bowen's arrest in 2018 shocked many in east Alabama's Christian community where he was considered a hometown hero. Bowen had served as chaplain for the 2012 Olympics, made appearances on Fox News, and promoted himself as a spiritual adviser to Hollywood Stars including Justin Beiber.
Bowen had worked as a youth minister nearly a decade ago at the CrossPoint Community Church in Etowah County before it closed. There he worked closely with students from Coosa Christian School where he also graduated. In 2018, Bowen's father said at the time his son had spent much of his adult life mentoring young children
"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."