NH Pastor Loves Jesus, Collecting Images Of Child Sex Abuse

NH Pastor Loves Jesus, Collecting Images Of Child Sex Abuse

Following a nearly six-year investigation, Pastor Stephen Bates of the Bible Baptist Church in Nashua, New Hampshire, was arrested this week on charges of possessing child pornography. He faces five charges of possession of child sexual abuse images, one each for the five images investigators found on flash drives he had in his pocket. More charges are expected as police continue searching his personal electronic devices.

The Nashua police first started investigating Bates in 2016 when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted them to let them know that someone with an IP address associated with the Bible Baptist Church had been accessing images of child sexual abuse. They were alerted again in 2017, but say they did not have enough information for an arrest at that time.

Over the last three years, the Bible Baptist Church IP address was associated with a number of Homeland Security child pornography investigations across the United States, including one involving an actual conversation Bates allegedly had with someone discussing their mutual interest in child rape.

Via NBC 10:

In 2019, as part of a Homeland Security investigation into the production and distribution of child sex abuse images in Denver, Colorado, the suspect in that case shared images with an unknown individual with an IP address associated with the Bible Baptist Church.

A year later, police in Tallahassee, Florida, investigating the publishing of child sexual abuse images on the internet discovered the account responsible for publishing the images used an IP address associated with the same New Hampshire church.

Again in 2021, a Homeland Security investigation into the sexual exploitation of a child in Blaine, Washington, found that the suspect in that case had communicated with an unknown individual through social media "about their shared interest in having sexual contact with children." Again, the IP address used by the unknown individual was associated with the Bible Baptist Church.

Over these years, Bates — knowing he was under investigation for possession of child pornography — continued to preach in his church about the sins of others and regularly interact with minors as a part of his job. The 46-year-old pastor is married with three daughters.

While the church's website has been offline since Pastor Bates's arrest, it is still available through the Wayback Machine. Sadly, videos of Pastor Bates's sermon series, featuring titles like "Behave Thyself: A Study of 1 Timothy," "A Divine Perspective on Marriage & Divorce, Remarriage & Singleness," "Prevailing Over Temptation," and "Abominations of the Catholic Church" are no longer available to watch on Vimeo.

What is available, however, is a PDF of the Bible Baptist Church's constitution. Would you like to see what it says about "Human Sexuality"?

We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between one man and one woman. Furthermore, civil unions and homosexual marriages are nowhere taught nor endorsed in the Scriptures. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, pedophilia, transexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God's gift of sex to a husband and wife. We believe that any attempt to alter one's gender by surgery or appearance is unscriptural. We believe that the only Scriptural marriage is the joining of one man and one woman.

Bates is far from the first LGBTQ-hating religious leader to find himself in trouble for child predation. We all know the Catholic Church has had its share of issues, but they're not the only ones. The Baptist Accountability website currently features 482 pastors who have been convicted of abusing others, and the Houston Chronicle has a database of over 250 pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention alone who have been charged with sexual abuse.

Meanwhile, there are, as far as we know, literally zero examples of teachers being convicted of child sex abuse or child porn possession after reading "Heather Has Two Mommies" to their classrooms.

[NBC 10 Boston]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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