Law enforcement officers with an FBI task force arrested Thomas “Tag” Gatlin, age 23, on child pornography charges Thursday afternoon, July 15. The state attorney general’s cyber-crime division was also associated with the investigation that resulted in Gatlin’s arrest.
Gatlin was assistant youth director at First United Methodist Church, New Albany. He was booked into the Union County Jail charged with possession of child pornography, according to Sheriff Jimmy Edwards. He was released on bond later the same day.
Both federal and state charges could be levied against Gatlin.
Dr. Tim Prather, pastor of the church, issued the following statement to NEMiss.News:
“This is a painful and difficult situation for the members of the congregations where Rev. Thomas “Tag” Allen Gatlin served. We keep them in our prayers as we pray for justice.
“Rev. Gatlin was removed from his appointments effective immediately soon after conference and church leadership were informed of the allegation against him. The Mississippi Conference will take care of the pastoral needs of the congregations where he served.
“This is a very serious allegation. We affirm what is written in The United Methodist Social Principles, which states that ‘children must be protected from economic, physical, emotional and sexual exploitation and abuse.’ The Mississippi Conference is committed to fully cooperate with law enforcement personnel.
“Because of confidentiality issues, we cannot discuss details of the specifics of the allegation. Any details will need to come from law enforcement.”
child pornography, crime, FBI, New Albany MS, Northeast Mississippi news, Union County MS