Home > COGIC, crime, sex crimes > Update: COGIC Elder found not guilty of boy’s rape

Update: COGIC Elder found not guilty of boy’s rape

A jury in Chattanooga, TN found Elder Ronnie Powe, Jr. not guilty of statutory rape. See our report on Powe’s arrest here.  The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that although Powe did have sexual relationship with the boy, it wasn’t proven that he knew the boy’s age.

The son of a Chattanooga pastor has been found not guilty of statutory rape, a jury decided Friday in Hamilton County Criminal Court.

Ronnie Powe, Jr. had been accused of masturbating and briefly performed oral sex on a 15-year-old boy on Feb. 15 after a Chattanooga Police Officer found the two in a car together behind the old East Lake Middle School.

Though Powe’s defense acknowledged that the encounter took place, they had contested that Powe did not know the teen’s age.

Throughout proceedings, Powe’s attorneys referred to the profile the boy had created a profile on an adult black gay website, which indicated his age as 18 at the time Powe met him.

“We felt that the jury understood what we were arguing. We said at the very beginning of this case ‘our client is a victim.’ I think the jury agreed,” said Bill Speek, one of Powe’s attorney.

Powe is the son of Ronnie Powe Sr., the pastor of Chattanooga’s United Tabernacle Church of God in Christ.

Powe, Jr.’s attorneys assailed the victim’s character showing evidence that he frequently misrepresented his age on gay sex sites. Also, the victim admitted under oath that he had made false accusations against his own brother. Nevertheless, testimony did not dispute that Powe, Jr. was active online with the gay sex hookup sites, or that  Powe had sexual contact with the victim. The strength of the Powe case was that his attorneys were able to plant in the mind of jurors that the victim misrepresented his age to Powe, Jr.

Another report said Powe’s legal defense team painted him as a victim.

Under Tennessee law, the aggravated statutory rape charge requires “knowingly penetrating a person” older than 13 but younger than 18.

“We felt that the jury understood what we were arguing. We said at the very beginning of this case, ‘Our client is a victim.’ I think the jury agreed,” said Bill Speek, one of Powe’s attorneys.

Throughout proceedings, Powe’s attorneys referred to the profile the boy had created on an adult black gay website, where Powe first came in contact with him. In the profile, the teen said he age was 18.

Report COGIC Abuse unsuccessfully attempted to contact the church’s pastor Ronnie Powe, Sr. at his home and church phones for comment.  Powe, Jr’s attorney said he “lost his position at the church.”

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