Anti-Gay Louisiana Pastor Convicted of Public Masturbation
A well-known local pastor who likes to fulminate publicly against homosexuality was convicted of exposing himself after he was caught masturbating in a public park near children, Nola.com reported.
The authorities denied Rev. Grant Storm, 55, was a pedophile even though the pastor described public masturbation as "a thrill" and the New Orleans Times-Picayune points out that eyewitnesses say he was "looking at the playground area that contained children playing, with his zipper down" at Lafreniere Park.
Storms received a sentence of three years’ probation.
"Lafreniere Park is a public place," Judge Ross LaDart said. "Lafreniere Park is a place that was chosen by this defendant to engage in a history of masturbation." LaDart also ordered Storms to be psychologically evaluated.
According to Storms’ confession, the day he was arrested was the third time that week he masturbated at the park. Also in his confession, Storms said he took a break from cutting his grass for a sip of beer in the park but then became "horny," causing him to put his hands into his underwear. He claims he never publically exposed himself, however.
When the authorities asked why Storms liked to go to the park to masturbate he said, "I don’t know. I guess a thrill."
When Storms tried to explain himself at the time of the arrest, he said that after he drank the beer he had to urinate and claimed he carried a "pee bottle" with him. He tried to urinate in his van instead of walking to the park bathrooms. But Detective Donald Zanotelli testified he searched the pastor’s van and found no bottle with urine in them.
Even though he exposed himself near children, there was no evidence of child porn on his computer or cell phone and there was "never a shred of evidence (showing) that Mr. Storms was masturbating to children," Seth Shute, assistant district attorney, said.
Storms calls himself a "Christian patriot" and leads a small West Bank congregation called the Reformer Church. He has hosted a radio show for 10 years, EDGE reported. He is best known for his strong opposition to homosexuality and his demonstrating at New Orleans’ annual Southern Decadence, a huge annual event over Labor Day that draws thousands to the French Quarter.
"He’s done everything through the years to disturb it and try to make it into something nasty that it’s not," event organizer Chuck Robinson said. "If the Rev. Storms is caught doing that in our city, it is ludicrous and heinous that he would have the nerve to complain about anykind of sexuality."