Pastor charged with sexual battery

Larry Singleton, pastor of Bay Springs Baptist Church in Abbeville, Miss., made an initial court appearance Dec. 4.

By Bob Allen

A 71-year-old Southern Baptist pastor in northern Mississippi is in jail on $1 million bond on charges of sexual battery of a child.

singletonLarry Singleton, pastor of Bay Springs Baptist Church in Abbeville, Miss., was arrested by the Tate County Sheriff’s Office Monday, Dec. 3. His church, located in neighboring Lafayette County, is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, Mississippi Baptist Convention and Lafayette Baptist Association, based in Oxford, Miss.

Local media reports say investigators received a complaint from a man, now 18, who accused Singleton of forcing him to have sex beginning when he was 11 and continuing for several years.

Police said Singleton volunteered at an extension campus of Gateway Christian Schools, sponsored by the independent Gateway Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., but did not have any contact with students.

Authorities said Singleton could appear before a grand jury as early as the upcoming mid-January term, but it might be at the following term in March. Sheriff Brad Lance told the Tate County Democrat the investigation is in its early stages, but he anticipates that additional charges will be filed.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Tate County Sheriff’s Department in Senatobia, Miss.