A gay Tennessee couple allege that they were beaten as they tried to attend services at Grace Fellowship Church in Fruitland -- and that the assault was prompted by the father of one of them, who happens to be church's pastor.
Gibson County resident Jerry Pittman Jr. recalled the incident to local news channel WBBJ: "I went over to take the keys out of the ignition and all the sudden I hear someone say 'sic 'em!'"
Pittman said his father, Pastor Jerry Pittman, instigated the attack.
"My uncle and two other deacons came over to the car per my dad's request. My uncle smashed me in the door as the other deacon knocked my boyfriend back so he couldn't help me, punching him in his face and his chest. The other deacon came and hit me through my car window in my back," the younger Pittman said.
No bystanders came to their aid while one of the deacons yelled antigay slurs, according to Pittman.
Charges were filed against deacons Billy Sims, Eugene McCoy, and Patrick Flatt as well as Jerry Pittman Sr.