Saraland pastor enters not guilty plea

| April 14, 2010

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Samuel Gates was booked into Metro Jail just after celebrating 50 years with his church. He was arrested on personal tax evasion charges. New allegations soon followed claiming that Gates was stealing from his church.

There are 13 indictments against Gates that were handed up by a Mobile County Grand Jury. Tuesday, Gates was back in court and pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Among those charges were three theft indictments involving church money. The indictments list three checks, equaling nearly $13,000. The indictment says Gates "obtained control over the checks with intent to deprive the church".

Back in February, those with Wilson Avenue Baptist stood behind their pastor.

"About two weeks ago I called a meeting with the deacons and board of trustees and we sat down and talked about what we knew. We took a vote of confidence for him and it was amazing the support he has," said Co-Pastor George Williams.

Along with the theft charges, Gates is also facing perjury and tax evasion charges. Those representing Gates did not have a comment after the arraignment.

Gates will now face a jury. His trial is set for August of this year.

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Category: Church Security

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