Church hires minister with criminal record to replace imprisoned Baptist leader

Posted: Friday, December 15, 2000

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Bethel Metropolitan Baptist Church chose a clergyman with a criminal past to replace its pastor, who went to prison for racketeering and grand theft for actions while he was president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

Church members voted to oust the Rev. Henry J. Lyons and then hired the Rev. Joaquin Marvin, 35, a clergyman from Pensacola. Marvin was sentenced to two years of community control in 1991 for passing forged checks.

The Rev. Joseph Harvey, an associate minister who worked to remove Lyons, said the church conducted a careful investigation of Marvin, who ''didn't hide anything.''

Lyons is serving concurrent federal and state sentences of five and a half years.

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