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Minister Accused of Antigay Assault Is Charged in Theft

Minister Accused of Antigay Assault Is Charged in Theft


The Tennessee minister accused of ordering an assault on his gay son and the son's boyfriend has legal trouble with another family member as well -- he's been charged with stealing copper from his estranged wife's scrap yard.

TV station WBBJ of Jackson, Tenn., reports that Jerry Pittman, pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Fruitland, was arrested on theft charges September 21. Police in the nearby town of Trenton said Pittman's wife asked them to investigate reports that someone had been stealing from her business, and they believe Pittman and another man took hundreds of pounds of copper, valued at more than $1,000. There were at least three incidents of theft, police said.

Pittman and three deacons of his church face assault and other charges stemming from an attack on Jerry Pittman Jr. and his partner when they tried to attend a church service last month. "My uncle and two other deacons came over to the car per my dad's request," the younger Pittman told WBBJ. "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 minister had another brush with the law involving his family in 2006, WBBJ reports. He was charged with assault "over an incident where the daughter and the boyfriend had a joint child," said Trenton police lieutenant James Wilson. "There were some accusations involving the father of the child, which was the boyfriend, and he confronted the father of his grandchild at a local grocery store."

Pittman is scheduled to appear in court on the theft charges October 28.

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