Thomas Hopper was convicted in the 1990s of raping and sodomizing a thirteen-year-old girl while holding a razor knife to her throat. He spent ten years in prison for his crimes. Hopper was also convicted of criminal confinement, battery, and trespassing in the early 2000s. He was also arrested for stalking a high school student. Today, Hopper, a convicted sex offender, is a volunteer worker at Truth Apostolic Church in Madisonville, Kentucky. According to news reports, Hopper leads the church’s care ministry, and is responsible for its nursing home and bus ministry.
When asked about Hopper working at Truth Apostolic, Michael Orten, the church’s pastor, replied:
… this is a situation, if that girl chooses…it takes two to tango, okay? So if that girl chooses to sleep with him, she’s just as guilty as he is.
Orten later stated:
He was mad and angry, both of them were on drugs. Yeah, that’s still his past. It ain’t like we don’t know nothing about this. Like I said, the media and people are ignorant when they want to turn around and dramatize or hurt somebody.
Orten said that Hopper’s past has been washed clean by the blood of Jesus. The past is in the past, and since Hopper is now a new creation in Christ Jesus:
So what you’re saying is, is the church is no good for forgiveness? Jesus Christ can’t save you? So if you steal a piece of candy from a store because you were young and stupid. And make stupid mistakes. You’re still a thief even though now you’re 40-years-old?
When asked by a reporter, Well, I think stealing candy is a little bit different than rape, Orten replied:
No, it’s not. No, it’s not. No, it’s not. It’s still sin. And if you get caught, there are consequences and you will pay.
Dear Pastor Orten, Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Yes, it is.
The church’s website currently returns a 404-page not found error message.