Trial starts for Tennessee pastor accused of raping children

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee pastor is being tried on the first of 47 counts of child sexual abuse, including 16 counts of statutory rape.

WMC-TV reports Ronnie Gorton sat in court Monday for opening statements and the testimonies of several teenagers.

The former pastor at the now-defunct Awakening Church in Atoka faces three separate trials for each of the teenagers who accused him of rape. One was 12 at the time.

Prosecutor Walt Freeland told jurors that one of Gorton’s accusers was raped while he lived with the pastor and his wife in 2017. A friend of the victim testified that he came to Gorton’s home and he gave them alcohol and turned on porn for them to watch together.

Gorton’s lawyer said the allegations defy common sense.

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