Phoenix police caught a disgraced former minister of the First Southern Baptist Church of Phoenix of masturbating at a local adult store, New Times has learned.
We reported previously on the March 9 arrest and subsequent resignation of Gordon Christopher, the longtime employee of the 88-year-old Phoenix church; cops have finally released the details.
It turns out Christopher, who recently celebrated his 25th year as the church's music minister, is suspected of pulling a Pee-Wee Herman-type move.
Police say Christopher was hanging out at the Just for Fun adult shop at 2202 West McDowell Road about 5:45 p.m. on a Tuesday when a couple of plainclothes cops walked in to conduct a routine "compliance inspection" of the place.
That's some serious bad timing. From an agnostic's point of view, anyway.
Christopher, standing in "arcade number five," was caught with his pants down -- and then some.
As Officer Jeffrey Gordon noted, numerous customers were in the store and Christopher was masturbating "in a booth which was fully visible from the outside via a mirror."
They flashed him a badge and read him his rights.
"He told me that he knew what he was doing was wrong," Officer Gordon wrote in his report. "He did not know that people could be arrested for it."
Sure, Christopher saw the big sign at the entrance of the arcade stating that masturbation was prohibited, but he figured if he was alone, it was okay, the officer wrote. He admitted he'd done it before, but denied ever meeting anyone or having sex in an adult store.
"He told me that his religion is very strict and his wife would not understand what he was doing," the report says.
The church, in a statement posted on the Internet, calls the resignation of Christopher "tragic because it involves a moral failure." Officials write:
We will not try to white-wash the events of March 9 and 10. But, we also will not be embarrassed or ashamed of looking back and celebrating his life, his friendship, and his ministry.
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We do not yet know all that the future holds for Gordon and his family. We do know that we will do our very best to walk with him and his family through this personal and professional tragedy. We also know that the Christopher family will always have a home here with the "First Family."
A charge of sexual indecency was dropped against Christopher, who was sentenced to 12 months' probation after pleading guilty to disturbing the peace.
Not to put a damper on the sex-shop industry, but -- assuming he told the truth about not wanting to meet anyone -- a private laptop computer could have saved Christopher a lot of trouble.