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“She’s just as guilty as he is,” Pastor defends hiring sex offender convicted of rape, sodomy

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MADISONVILLE, Ky. – A Kentucky pastor is defending his decision to allow a convicted sex offender to work at his church.

WFIE received several tips from people concerned that a convicted sex offender might be working at Truth Apostolic Church.

Thomas Hopper was convicted of rape and sodomy of a 13-year-old girl in the early 1990s.

The victim claims Hopper held a razor blade to her throat during the assault.

He was released from prison after serving 10 years, but was arrested just two years later and convicted of criminal confinement, battery and trespassing.

Four months after serving time for those crimes, he was arrested for stalking a girl.

According to officials at the Kentucky Sex Offender Registry office, Hopper’s only restriction is that he has to get permission before he’s allowed on school property.

Hopper says he is part of the church’s outreach program and makes sure members have a ride to get to the church.

“He was mad and angry, both of them were on drugs. Yeah, that’s still his past,” Pastor Michael Orten at Truth Apostolic Church told WFIE. “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 says Hopper has since been saved and that those crimes happened years ago.

“So what you’re saying is, is the church is no good for forgiveness? Jesus Christ can’t save you?” he said. “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?”

“Well, I think stealing candy is a little bit different than rape,” the WFIE reporter said.

“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,” he said.

When asked about Hopper’s rape and sodomy conviction, he says the victim is partly to blame.

“This is a situation if that girl chooses… it take two to tango, ok? If that girl chooses to sleep with him, she’s just as guilty as he is,” Pastor Orten said.

Orten says Hopper is not part of the youth department because they have policies in place to protect children.

However, he says that he would trust Hopper around anyone.