Sex offender talks about becoming ordained, agrees not to be around children


Posted on September 7, 2009 at 5:06 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 15 at 5:13 PM

(WHAS11) - A story WHAS11 first brought you Friday afternoon is gaining national attention.

We're talking about a convicted sex offender now scheduled to become an ordained pastor.

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Whas11's Investigative Reporter Adam Walser first brought you the story of Mark Hourigan, who will be ordained next Sunday at City of Refuge Worship Center.

We sent our story to CNN over the weekend and Sunday night, they conducted the first live interview with Mark Hourigan.

Monday, we'll hear what he has to say about becoming a pastor, along with others who don't believe he can be trusted not to reoffend.

The praise in worship leader who's in line to become a pastor in a small Louisville church has found himself in the national spotlight.

Mark Hourigan could become the first acknowledged sex offender to become ordained as a minister.

"God can use me to reach out to those people that need that hope and need that light," said Hourigan.

Hourigan was convicted 10 years ago of two counts of sex abuse.

The victim was an 11-year-old boy.

Hourigan has to remain on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life.

"I've learned that I have to change the way that I think in order to change my actions and behavior and I've learned a lot of things as far as what situations not to place myself in," he said.

Kevin Pickerrell says he left the church over the decision to ordain Hourigan.

"You don't have a problem with Mark going to that church?" asked WHAS11's Adam Walser.

"No. I don't have a problem with Mark going to church. I think all people should go to church. He's a music leader; he's a wonderful music leader," replied Pickerrell.

"I don't think someone with that should be ordained a minister."

The church' will ask Hourigan to agree not to be around children.

But Jeff Koenig, who was abused by a Louisville priest, says he doesn't trust Hourigan not to reoffend.

He knows from experience how damaging abuse can be.

"I question the Bible, the whole 9 yards of is there a god out there. It does so much damage because the person you've been told to trust and is a man of god exploits you," said Koenig.

"This offense is more a mental and emotional problem that has to be corrected through my thinking and therefore as you change your thinking about things that happened in the past you can change the way you behave."

Hourigan has agreed to sign a letter stating that he won't have unsupervised contact with children as part of his ministry.