Beleaguered senate candidate Roy Moore held a campaign event at the Magnolia Springs Baptist Church in Theodore Alabama Wednesday, and for once he may not have been the man in the room with the most disgraceful history as a sexual predator.
The church’s pastor, Reverend Bill Atkinson, found himself on the wrong side of the law in 2012 when he, “was found guilty of obstruction and conspiracy for ordering two of his children to destroy a hard drive of a digital video recorder, which held evidence that incriminated his son for child molestation.”
Atkinson’s son and namesake, William IV, had been arrested and awaiting trial in jail in Honduras on charges that he molested a child at the central American orphanage the family ran.
At Moore’s Wednesday event, the senior Atkinson sang and conducted the music portion. “The church’s website lists Atkinson as the music minister,” AL.com reports. “In his biography, there is no mention of the former Central American orphanage-but states four of the Atkinson children live in the area and participate in the musical portion of the church.”
It’s not exactly clear how the case in Honduras turned out for the younger Atkinson, but Bill Senior’s guilty verdict came with a maximum 20-year sentence, of which the minimum possible was two years. Prosecutors alleged that he ordered his son Jonathan to destroy the video recorder hard drive after he was shown footage depicting Will Jr. molesting a young Honduran orphan, and the jury concurred.
Atkinson’s case was well known in and around Theodore, Alabama, but it’s unclear if Roy Moore was aware of the pastor’s history before deciding to speak in his church. Moore has been accused of sexual assault and harassment of at least 9 women, two of whom were minors at the time of their encounter with then-district attorney Moore.
Moore refuses to withdraw from the race against Democratic candidate Doug Jones, and it appears his fate will be left to Alabama voters, who take to the polls on December 12th.