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Minister gets 4 life sentences for child sex crimes

The local minister arrested in October for sexually abusing and sodomizing four boys pleaded guilty to the allegations Friday and will now spend the rest of his life in prison.

Ralph Lee Aaron, 54, was the pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship in Andalusia before being terminated from the position shortly after his arrest.

District Attorney Greg Gambril said Aaron appeared “remorseful” as he pleaded before Judge Frank “Trippy” McGuire to one count of first-degree sodomy and three counts of production of obscene matter involving a child under 17. For each of those counts, Aaron received one life sentence, and the time will run consecutively.

“Which means that unless the law changes, Ralph Aaron will never get out of prison,” Gambril said. “Because of his misdeeds, he will never be eligible for parole and he will die in prison. This deal is essentially one life sentence for each of his victims.”

Gambril said the families of each of the victims were in agreement with the plea deal.

“Mr. Aaron ultimately agreed to this deal because he didn’t want the boys to have to testify before the grand jury,” he said.

Aaron was initially charged with 97 counts of possession of child pornography and 56 counts of other various sex crimes including the production of child pornography.

And while the local case against Aaron has concluded, Gambril said the case has been picked up by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, who will continue to investigate the multitude of computer equipment confiscated from the Aaron home.

“One of the points of Aaron’s plea deal was he had to tell us if there were any other victims,” Gambril said. “He assured us there were not; however, if the U.S. Attorney’s Office finds any new victims, he will be prosecuted for those.”

Gambril said Aaron, who had been held in the Covington County Jail since his arrest in October, will be transferred to the Department of Corrections system “shortly and he will never be back.”