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The Deacon's Bench

This piece of news just boggles the mind: 

A tiny Louisville church’s newest minister is a gifted music leader and popular among its three dozen members.

Mark Hourigan is also a sex offender. 

Almost a decade ago, long before he joined the flock at the City of Refuge Worship Center, he was convicted of sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy in central Kentucky. Hourigan served a five-year sentence and the 41-year-old was placed on Kentucky’s sex offender registry for the rest of his life.

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A former leader at the church along with an abuse victims advocacy group say Hourigan is a risk to hurt another child and he should not have been placed in a position of authority.

“He’s still a threat” to children, said Cal Pfeiffer, who was abused by a Catholic priest as a young student in Louisville in the late 1950s and early 60s.

Pfeiffer and experts on religion and sexual abuse believe it could be the first time a convicted sex offender has been knowingly ordained as a minister in a Christian church.

“It sets a precedent,” said Pfeiffer, a member of a group that has protested Hourigan’s ordination. “It elevates him to an ordained minister which almost automatically conveys a level of trust and responsibility.”

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Randy Meadows, ordained Hourigan during a service on Sept. 13. The self-described Pentecostal church, started by Meadows and a handful of other members six years ago, welcomes anyone “regardless of race, religion, culture (or) sexual orientation,” according to its Web site. It also has a Sunday school for children.

Meadows declined several requests from The Associated Press for an interview, but said in a brief phone conversation that the church has not experienced any backlash based on the decision to ordain a convicted pedophile.

“We’re just finished with the whole ordeal with everything, so we’re moving on,” Meadows said.

There’s more at the link

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