Ala. pastor refuses to leave post after admitting to HIV, sex

A veteran Alabama pastor who confessed to having sex with parishioners on church grounds while HIV-positive has defied attempts to remove him from his post, media reported on Friday.

Pastor Juan McFarland’s revelations, made in a series of confessions from the pulpit last month, rocked the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery, where he ministered for more than 20 years, the Alabama Media Group reported.

In September, McFarland revealed from the pulpit that he had full-blown AIDS and had previously had sex with parishioners without telling them about his HIV status, which he had long kept secret from church leaders, WSFA-TV reported separately.

He also admitted to illegal drug use and to using church funds for personal purposes, Alabama Media Group said, citing parishioners.

On Sunday, parishioners voted 80-2 to dismiss McFarland, although he still had access to the building and controlled the church’s bank account as of Thursday, the news group added, citing a former church official.

In addition to his role as pastor, McFarland served in a leadership role at the Alabama Middle District Missionary Baptist Association, which represents 34 nearby churches. The association did not respond to messages seeking comment.

McFarland and the church also could not be immediately reached for comment.

Jonathan Kaminsky reported from New Orleans.

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