Deputies: Local pastor turns self in, admits molesting teen boy

Published: Monday, March 25, 2013 at 6:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 25, 2013 at 6:03 p.m.

A Gainesville man who serves as a local pastor turned himself in to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, saying he had molested a 16-year-old boy who goes to his church.

Richard S. Hurlston, 45, drove to the Alachua County jail and told deputies he had molested the victim in December, according to a report from Sheriff’s Office spokesman Art Forgey. He agreed to go to the Sheriff’s Office and write a sworn statement.

Once there and after being read his Miranda rights, he admitted to molesting the victim on Dec. 7 while they were sitting in his truck at the parking lot of a Publix near Jonesville, according to the report. Hurlston, who is the victim’s pastor, apologized afterward.

Hurlston is a pastor at the Church at Steeplechase in Newberry, and he stated this was the first and only time he had molested the victim, according to the report.

Hurlston said he had struggled with homosexuality throughout his life and developed feelings for the victim over the course of several years, deputies reported.

He was arrested and charged with sexual battery of a victim 16 or 17 by a person 24 or older. He was booked into the Alachua County jail and was released on $10,000 bond.

Contact Morgan Watkins at 338-3104 or

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