Back in January, Bible-thumping Palestine, Texas was rocked by a shocking allegation against an elderly pastor who has been in the pulpit for over 50 years.
Anderson County authorities claimed that from July to December in 2009, portly, 68-year-old preacher Larry Gene Martin had been systematically raping the 12-year-old daughter of a couple who took him in after his wife died. Martin was charged with aggravated sexual assault and is free on $250,000 bond.
Earlier this week, almost eight months after Martin's arrest, those parents (who were both members of Martin's flock at the backwoods Faith Bible Church) were arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and engaging in organized criminal activity. (Hair Balls does not identify the parents of child rape victims.)
Martin told a depraved tale after his arrest.
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Authorities say that he told them that he was in love with the child, and that he and the girl would be getting married, presumably when she reached 17 years of age, Texas's age of consent. (At which time Martin would be well into his 70s.)
"[The victim] reached out to him as a possible parental figure. He took that and pretty much ran with it," said Captain Jay Russell of the Anderson County Sheriff's Office. "He told us he knew it was wrong. He admitted that he knew it was wrong."
Since Martin's arrest, authorities have been seeking other potential victims. Martin's preaching career has taken him all over Texas since the early 1960s, including three stints in the Houston area -- one in the city proper, another in Porter and a third in Splendora. If you've been victimized by Martin, the Anderson County Sheriff's Office wants to hear from you.
That same agency has not yet released any more information on the arrests of the girl's parents.