MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A verdict was reached in the rape case against former Mid-South pastor Ronnie Gorton.
He was found guilty in a 24-count indictment including sexual exploitation of a minor, contributing to deliquency of a minor, furnishing alcohol to minors, sexual battery and statutory rape by an authority figure.
Jurors heard from the former Atoka pastor accused of molesting the teen who lived at his home.
Ronnie Gorton's first words on the witness stand adamantly denying he ever had any inappropriate sexual contact with his teen accuser.
Gorton told the jury his only wrongdoings were providing minors with alcohol and smoking marijuana with youth from his church.
The 41-year-old former Awakening Church pastor broke down on the witness stand as he described his life as a living hell for the past 19 months since the allegations of sexual abuse surfaced in January 2018.
On Tuesday, the alleged victim told the jury the inappropriate touching began the day after he moved into the Gorton home in Drummonds in 2016 and became a nightly occurrence.
Gorton admitted to sleeping in the same bed as the teen, but said he only did so at the request of the teen.
ADA Walt Freeland noted first emotion from Gorton during the three days of testimony came after he spoke about impact of the accusations on his life— not during the hours of emotional testimony from the alleged victim on the alleged abuse.
In closing arguments Gorton's attorney, Blake Ballin said the testimony doesn't add up to prove the allegations, his wife was unaware of the alleged nightly abuse for a year, the teen was said to be thriving in school, and one of the accusers continued to spend time with Gorton.
However, the state called Gorton a man a wolf in sheep’s clothing preying on his flock.