Yet another religious hypocrite has been found to be a sexual predator.
Alabama evangelist Paul Acton Bowen has been sentenced to 1,008 years in prison after pleading guilty to 28 counts of sexual abuse involving six male victims whose ages range from 13 to 16.
Bowen was originally arrested in April 2018 and charged with second-degree sodomy, enticing a child to enter a vehicle or house for immoral purposes, and second-degree sex abuse of a male minor under the age of 16. Further investigation led authorities to the additional victims.
The sentence is the maximum allowed on all counts and is ordered to run consecutively, not concurrently. Bowen was also ordered to pay $840,000 in fines for all counts, also the maximum.
Standing in shackles, Bowen addressed the Etowah County court before being sentenced apologizing to his victims and his own family.
“The shame and guilt I feel is overwhelming and has been for a long time,” he said. “My heart was never wanting to hurt anybody but my mind was not well.”
AL.com reports the 39-year-old “served for 12 years in a local church, led a citywide student Bible study in Gadsden and was also the host of xlroads TV, a worldwide broadcast viewed weekly by millions of teens and adults in every city in America and more than 170 countries around the world.”
The victims told investigators they met Bowen through his ministry, and the abuse lasted months, sometimes years.
District Attorney Jody Willoughby read the impact letter of one of the victims who wrote he initially saw Bowen as a “cool guy” who gave him money and took him on trips. But the teen developed a drinking problem that led to blackouts as he tried to cope with the shame of abuse and now sees himself now as “damaged goods.”
A second victim wrote that Bowen “did his best to ruin the lives of other young men.”
A third victim intended to testify in court, but became so overwhelmed with emotion he changed his mind.
Bowen’s attorney John Floyd told the court that his client acted out after being sexually molested himself as a boy.
In addition to his time in prison, Bowen faces another trial in Jefferson County on three felony charges of traveling to meet a child for sex, enticing a child for a sexual act and sodomy. That trial is set for April 20, 2020.
The local NBC News affiliate WVTM reported on Bowen’s arrest back in 2018.