Church fires lead pastor after ‘shock’ arrest for patronizing minor for sex

Pastor Elbert Eugene Goins, also known as Buddy Goins.
Pastor Elbert Eugene Goins, also known as Buddy Goins. | Mugshot

Board members of the Mount Hope Christian Church in Fayette County, West Virginia, say they have fired their lead pastor, Elbert Eugene Goins, popularly known as "Buddy Goins," a day after he was arrested for allegedly patronizing a minor victimized by sexual servitude. They said the incident has left them "shocked."

"The incident that resulted in the arrest did not occur in our church building or on our premises. Furthermore, the FBI has informed us there is no reason to believe that any of the members of our congregation were involved in the events leading to Mr. Goins' arrest," the board said in a statement cited by WOAY. "We are fully cooperating with law enforcement in its investigation of this matter."

While Goins' name is still listed on the church's website, his photo and any other details about his background have been scrubbed from the platform. The church did not immediately respond to further requests for comment from The Christian Post on Wednesday.

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A criminal complaint against Goins says he was arrested on Dec. 8 in Beckley after allegedly discussing plans with an adult to have sex with their minor child.

"During the conversations, Goins discussed meeting with the child's purported guardian and the purported minor child with the intent to pay for sexual services with the minor," the complaint notes.

What the former lead pastor didn't know, however, was that he was planning to meet up with many law enforcement officers, including members of the West Virginia State Police in Beckley.

After he was arrested and "advised he was communicating with an adult" about having sex with the adult's minor child, Goins suggested that he was hoping to have sex with the adult. The complaint noted, however, that he also understood from the conversation he had with the adult what could be assumed.

Since his arrest, Goins, who faces at least three years behind bars if convicted and a maximum sentence of 15 years, posted a $50,000 bond and is now set for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 28.

Goins' arrest echoes similarities to charges brought against Virginia Beach's Rock Church International Senior Pastor John Blanchard some two years ago when he was among 17 men accused of solicitation of prostitution after an online sting operation by police on Oct. 29, 2021.

The married father of two was charged with solicitation of prostitution of a minor and use of a vehicle to promote prostitution, which are felonies. He was arrested at a hotel where he was supposed to meet a detective posing as a 17-year-old girl.

Despite a special prosecutor concluding that the charges against him were "sound," Blanchard did not face prosecution. A Virginia judge agreed this summer to expunge the case from the record.

"It's kind of like it never happened," Virginia Beach attorney and legal analyst Ed Booth told 13NewsNow. "When that record is run later by an employer, by law enforcement, by whoever, the information is not there. That's what an expungement means, really."

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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