Items Seized During Sexual Torture Investigation of Former Pastor

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A former Franklin County pastor faces serious sexual abuse allegations.

Sheriff’s investigators say 72-year-old Freddy Hovater is accused of sexual torture, sexual abuse, and enticing a child.

Detectives say Hovater was arrested at his home in October 2011.  A Franklin County grand jury handed down an indictment for the alleged crimes during its most recent session.

According to Franklin County Sheriff, Shannon Oliver, Freddy Hovater knew his eight-year-old victim very well.

According to investigators, the sexual abuse happened inside Hovater’s Spruce Pine home for nearly a year.

“It’s very disturbing,” said Oliver.  “I`m really kinda lost for words why anyone would do that.”

According to investigators, Hovater violated the young victim on several occasions.

“That was probably someone she respected and trusted,” said Oliver.

As a former pastor, detectives say the victim’s family attended his church at one time.

However, as detectives uncover more evidence, they believe the sexual torture and abuse happened inside Hovater’s home.

“There`s numerous ways and prevention tips I`m sure but you know, if somebody wants to do that, they are going to go to any extent to do it,” said Oliver.

Investigators questioned Hovater about the inappropriate conduct accusations made against him, and Hovater was arrested at his home.

Then, detectives searched Hovater’s residence and seized a computer, along with several other items investigators believe may have been used during the alleged abuse.

According to the sheriff, the evidence taken from Hovater’s home has been sent to the state forensics lab for testing.

“As a parent, you wonder what you can do to prevent it from happening to your children, and of course as a law enforcement officer you would like to see it prevented from happening to any children,” said Oliver.

So far, just one victim has accused Hovater of sexual abuse but the sheriff says, as part of the department’s investigation, detectives will question other people close to the former pastor and his family.