Congregation Defends Arrested Minister - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/12/07-Longview

Congregation Defends Arrested Minister

The arrest of a minister on sexual assault of a child charges has rocked the community of Gladewater, but the congregation is coming to their minister's defense.

Larry Jackson, the minister of the Main Street Church of Christ for over ten years, is thought of by his neighbors and congregation as a good and decent man.

"As far as these charges that are being made, I have a problem accepting them. I have a hard time with everything that's being painted of Larry in the media" said church member John Morrison.

"Larry Jackson has a nice manner, and as long as I've known him he never did anything out of character," said Jackson family friend Tallie Register.

The 54 year old Jackson was arrested Wednesday on two first degree felony counts of sexual assault of a child, and one second degree felony indecency with a child.

In June, a mother told Kilgore police that Jackson had molested her three girls. But people who know him best, the people of his congregation, say that these allegations don't fit the man they've come to know.

"His family has been like brothers and sisters to me all my life. I'm very protective of my children and my children have never been in danger at the house of the Jackson's," said former church member Pamela Thurmon-Ford.

"There has people calling me and telling me they can't believe this, but we will rally behind Larry, and we will be there for support because I just have a hard time believing this." Morrison said.

Arrest affidavits show 2 alleged incidents in June of 1997, and one in July 2006. Friends said a good man is the real victim.

"He's being painted to look bad" says Morrison.

We did speak with Jackson today, but he would not go on camera because of advice from his legal counsel. He said he is innocent, and will leave his fate to God and the justice system.

Bob Hallmark bhallmark@kltv.com

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