Youth minister charged with indecency

Adam Epperson, minister of students at Raymond Road Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss., for 11 years, was arrested Feb. 11 on a single charge of gratification of lust.

By Bob Allen

A former Baptist church youth minister in Mississippi is free on a $25,000 bond and awaiting a March 12 court hearing on a charge of gratification of lust involving a 14-year-old boy he knew through his church.

Adam-EppersonAdam Epperson, 34, resigned as minister of students at Raymond Road Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss., following allegations said to have occurred two years ago at his home in Clinton, Miss.

Jonathan Russell, the pastor at Raymond Road Baptist Church, said he first became aware of the allegations on Jan. 31 and contacted the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Russell said in a statement to media that Epperson denied the allegations during a meeting with the pastor on Feb. 1, where he was relieved of duties and put on administrative leave with pay. Epperson was later asked to resign, which he did.

Russell said the resignation was not an admission of guilt but a “decision that was made for the best interest of all parties involved.” He said church leaders would continue to cooperate with police.

Clinton police arrested Epperson at his home on Feb. 11. In addition to his church job, he also taught Bible courses and was senior class sponsor at Central Hinds Academy, a K-12 Christian school located in Raymond, Miss.

A native of Hinds County, Epperson originally began work at Raymond Road Baptist Church as a student ministry intern in 2002. Prior to that he served as the interim student minister at First Baptist Church in Raymond. Both churches are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

He studied at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and got married in 2009. He and his wife have a daughter.

In Mississippi gratification of lust, or fondling, while in a position of authority or trust carries fines of from $1,000 to $5,000, a minimum two years and maximum 15 years in prison, or both.

A person in a position of trust or authority over a child includes a child’s teacher, counselor, physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, minister, priest, physical therapist, chiropractor, legal guardian, parent, stepparent, aunt, uncle, Scout leader or coach.