Appearing via video, the Munford pastor accused of sexually assaulting three teenage victims was arraigned in Tipton County Circuit Court at noon Monday.
Ronnie Gorton, 39, was charged a week ago in a 47-count indictment.
The nearly four dozen charges included five counts of aggravated sexual battery, 17 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child (Child Protection Act), 16 counts of statutory rape by an authority figure, two counts of exploitation of a minor by electronic means, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, two counts of purchasing alcohol for a child and one count of rape.
Gorton is the former lead pastor at The Awakening Church in Munford, which closed its doors for unknown reasons before the accusations were made. Prior to that, he had been employed as a youth pastor at River of Life Church.
Gorton will be in court on March 23 with his attorney, Blake Ballin. Judge Joe Walker III set June 15 as the day in which Gorton will report for a status on the case, if it is not dealt with beforehand.
Should the case go to trial, the trial date was set for July 30.