Ex-pastor sentenced to 30 years for sex offenses involving teen
By Wendy Victoria August 25, 2017
The former pastor of a local church was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in state prison and a lifetime designation as a sexual offender by Judge William F. Stone.
Larry Michael Thorne had been found guilty earlier this summer of lewd and lascivious battery on a victim between the ages of 12 and 18 and sexual battery on a victim in the same age range, according to a press release from the First Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office.
Thorne was arrested Nov. 14, 2014 after the victim reported that he’d had sexual contact with her on numerous occasions. The abuse started when she was 14 and ended when she was 17, according to news accounts.
The sexual molestation included sexual intercourse. These criminal acts occurred repeatedly in Thorne’s home in Fort Walton Beach.
The sexual abuse stopped only when the child disclosed it to a pastor at the church she began attending after she had been able to distance herself from the defendant.
The jury also heard evidence from two earlier victims who had been subject to the same pattern of conduct and sexual molestation when they were in their teens.
According to news accounts, Thorne was the youth pastor at Abundant Life Church on Hill Avenue beginning in 1985. In 2007, he took over as pastor after his father stepped down. In a news article about the transition, Thorne spoke about wanting the church to be a “lighthouse to our community.”
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation, with the assistance of the Department of Children and Families and Children’s Advocacy Center personnel, and made the arrest. The case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Christine Bosau.