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‘My Churchgoing Child’ — Mother Defends Youth Pastor Arrested in Child Porn Sting

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Austin Wray Perkins, 25, Reportedly Worked at Grace Fellowship Baptist Church

Austin Wray Perkins, a Georgia youth minister, was among those recently nabbed in a multi-day child pornography sting. The church worker, 25, was found to be sexually abusing and exploiting a child in his home.

Police in Floyd County — located northwest of Atlanta — told local media that Perkins “was actively victimizing a child in his care and creating explicit videos,” according to Rome News-Tribune.

Local FOX news station WAGA-TV quoted authorities as saying Perkins was “coaching the child about how to act in videos and also engaging in acts of child molestation.”

The teen victim reportedly had no family and was taken advantage of by Perkins. Though unconfirmed, Perkins may have first come in contact with the minor through his church. Investigators planned to contact the church to identify any more possible victims.

According to WAGA-TV: “Several callers, and a Fox5 news report identified the church Perkins worked at as Grace Fellowship Baptist Church. Police declined to identify the church where Perkins was youth minister.”

Perkins’ distraught mother confirmed that he has worked at Grace Fellowship Baptist Church for years.

“This is my youngest child. This is my churchgoing child. This is my child that tries to help everybody,” Kelly Bishop told a local news station.

“I don’t understand,” Bishop said. She went on to say that she did not believe he was guilty of the charges leveled against him.

Perkins, arrested March 9, was still jailed without bond on charges of sexual exploitation of children and aggravated child molestation.

The covert operation, dubbed “Spring Cleaning,” was conducted by the Floyd County Police Department, the U.S. Secret Service, and Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Officials said they confiscated “potentially millions of files of child pornography” involving victims between the ages of two and 12 years old. The abuse content is believed to have been made locally and “distributed online through social media, chat groups, and other messenger apps.”

In addition to Perkins, others arrested in the child pornography operation include: Jackie Steve Autry, 65; Richard Castleman, 26; Jason Gass, 27; Tyler Johnson, 22; Joab Stewart, 24. A 16-year-old was also arrested, and police have not made known the juvenile’s identity or charges.

If you suspect that a child has been sexualy exploited or abused, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1.800.THE.LOST (5678) or report it online at missingkids.org.

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FM Editors
FM Editors
Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.

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