Boyd Holder, the 44-year-old pastor of Victory Apostolic Church in Kingsport, Tennessee, found himself in big trouble this week. On Wednesday, the man of the cloth was indicted by a grand jury and charged with stealing more than $60,000 from his church. As if that wasn't bad enough, Holder was also slapped with a money laundering indictment.
But even though this marked the first time he was arrested and charged, Holder is not stranger to trouble with his congregation, and even with the police. While prosecutors have not said exactly what they believe Holder used the 60 grand on — some reports have the figure between $70,000 and $100,000 — reports from a local newspaper, the Kingsport Times News, as well as a local TV station, give what may be a pretty good idea.
Through his attorney, Holder has denied any wrongdoing — even in connection with an incident last December when, according to police, Holder was caught having sex with a man in a van owned by the church, parked in a lot behind a vacant building.
Several of his parishoners learned of the incident and demanded that Holder resign at that time. But Holder maintained that the whole thing was just a misunderstanding and that he was simply meeting with the other, younger man "to talk about the faith."
"Just as soon as we had parked, this police officer came up behind us and acted like all of this was going on," Holder told TV station WJHL back in January.
Police determined that no criminal activity was involved, and Holder refused to step down from his pastor's position.
But in February, prosecutors say, parishioners began to complain of financial improprieties and that, according to former Victory Apostolic Church board member Lyle Kincheloe, Holder had consolidated his power over the church's administration and "taken control to the treasury himself."
Kicheloe told the Times News that he had been "kicked out" of the church, along with several others who demanded that Holder explain what happened to the church funds, only to be told by Holder that it was "none of your business."
But enterprising reporters at WHJL found the following online profile on a dating site, with an image that looks suspiciously like Holder's church publicity photo.
The online profile says, "I am a regular guy looking to try something new. Looking for a regular nice guy to get with and see where it goes."
The Boyd Holder indictment comes eight months after an Alabama church pastor, Juan McFarland, confessed in a sermon to having sex with women in his congregation even though he knew he was infected with the AIDS virus, as well as taking church funds for his own personal use.
The list of witnesses before the grand jury that ultimately indicted Boyd Holder includes representatives of the site Online Buddies, which advertises itself as "the world's largest gay brand," as well as another dating site, Farmers Only.
[Image: Kingsport Police Department]