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Pastor arrested on 1991 warrants

A Bethel Metropolitan Baptist official confirms that the new pastor surrendered Friday in Escambia County.

By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 19, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- An Escambia County Sheriff's Office photograph of a man charged with violating two outstanding warrants is that of the new pastor of Bethel Metropolitan Baptist Church, an assistant minister says.

"It was him," the Rev. Joseph Harvey said of the photograph of the Rev. Joaquin Marvin, who turned himself in Friday on two warrants that were almost a decade old. He was released on $5,000 bail.

Harvey said the incident has not dissuaded the congregation from keeping the 35-year-old pastor.

"Whether he was arrested Friday or he was not, nobody has changed his mind. The man is the pastor. He is going to be the pastor," Harvey said.

During Sunday services, said church member Yvonne Marshall, Marvin attributed rumors of his arrest to a case of mistaken identity.

Harvey disputes her recollection.

"I remember him reading the letter from his attorney" that said the church board would receive a certified letter about the matter, Harvey said.

Marvin could not be reached for comment.

Sgt. Tony Bain, a spokesman for the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, said the warrants were issued in November 1991 for violation of probation and community control. Marvin had worked with his attorney and a bondsman for the past two weeks to settle the matter, Bain said.

"He turned himself in at the jail, where the warrants were served and he was released right after that," Bain said, adding that there had been no active search for the preacher.

"His bondsman was in touch with us. There was no reason to go out and look for him at that point, because we had indications that he was about to turn himself in."

According to Harvey, Marvin had been unaware of the old warrants.

"I am sure if he had known of those warrants, he would have dealt with it prior to Friday. He's never denied the wrongdoings he has done," said Harvey, referring to Marvin's past, which includes forgery, petty larceny and possession of crack and marijuana.

Marvin, who was hired earlier this month, replaces the Rev. Henry J. Lyons, once president of the National Baptist Convention USA. Lyons is in prison for racketeering and grand theft.

Harvey blames recent revelations about Marvin's past on church members who wanted to keep the pulpit open for Lyons.

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