Former youth pastor sentenced to over 1,000 years in prison for sex crimes

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ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — A former youth minister will be spending the rest of his life behind bars after pleading to over two dozen sex crimes against minors.

On Friday afternoon, Paul Edward Acton Bowen was sentenced to over 1,008 years in prison. He had previously pleaded guilty to 28 sex crimes running the gamut of sodomy, sexual abuse and enticing a child.

According to Etowah County District Attorney Jody Willoughby, Bowen received 99 years on all Class A felonies, 20 years on all Class B felonies, 10 years on all Class C felonies and a year on all misdemeanor charges, which will run consecutively with one another. The crimes took place in both Etowah and Jefferson counties.

Bowen, 39, was also adjudged as a violent sexual predator.

Bowen had previously pleaded guilty by reason of mental disease after he was indicted in 2018. He was initially charged with sex crimes against four boys between the ages of 12 and 17 over the course of many years, according to the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office.

Bowen pleaded guilty to the charges just before his trial was set to start. Willoughby said that six of his victims were set to testify during the trial.

Bowen founded a nonprofit ministry, Acton Bowen Outreach, and spoke to many youth groups across the region. He also published two books: “Escape the Noise: A Thirty-Day Devotional Journey for Students” in 2007 and “Moment” in 2014.


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