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Former Atoka pastor accused of sexually assaulting boys found guilty on all counts

TIPTON COUNTY, Tenn. — The former pastor accused of sexually assaulting several boys has been found guilty by a jury on all counts.

Ronnie Gorton was found guilty of exploitation, contributing, furnishing alcohol, sexual battery by an authority figure, statutory rape and continuance sexual abuse of a minor.

He took the stand in his own defense during trial on Wednesday, before the jury began deliberating.

Gorton told the jury he met the accuser at Awakening Church while he was a youth pastor. The young boy eventually moved in with he and his ex-wife Rhonda shortly after the child’s mother was arrested. Gorton said during that time, the boy quickly opened up to him, telling him about his background, family issues, and even his interests.

When asked if he had ever provided the youth and another boy living with them at the time with beer and liquor, Gorton replied “unfortunately yes.” He also admitted to using marijuana with the boys three to four times a week.

He believes he was overcompensating for his own strict religious upbringing.

However, when asked if he had molested the boy or showed him pornography he responded by saying “absolutely not.”

Gorton said Tuesday was the first time he’d seen his accuser since January 2018.

This is a developing story.

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