An associate pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church has been arrested after Best Buy staff discovered more than 50 images of child pornography on his computer.
The man had brought in his iMac for repairs to a Best Buy outlet, where employees found the images of nude children, some of which had “home-made quality” and notified the police.
78-year-old James Rankin, who is a married father of two and a former U.S. Army chaplain, claimed that he possessed the gross pictures to “remind himself of what other people like to look at” and further said he had come across the pictures around eight years ago. He added that he went on to save the pictures because he had researched a possible lesson involving Cupid, love, human trafficking and “how bad human trafficking is.”
Obviously, the bizarre excuse didn’t make any sense to police officers, who then went on to seize Rankin’s computers, cameras and digital devices.
According to authorities, some of the images have been saved just a month ago.
“This is now a matter of whether this is a downloaded collection or photos he’s taken,” police Sgt. Lonnie Brazzel said.
A forensic analysis of the images will take place in five to six weeks, but in the meanwhile Rankin faces charges of possession of child pornography. He is currently jailed in lieu of $5,000 bond.
Although the church has been contacted for comments, it has not responded to any messages.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Lucy Nicholson