To the 28-year-old Mississippi man who took the witness stand Thursday in an Orleans Parish courtroom, the Rev. Kevin Boyd Sr. stood tall.
Boyd was his godfather, spiritual lodestar and surrogate father, he said, referring to the founder of The Church at New Orleans by his affectionate nickname, “Pop.”
And then the man, now a father himself, stood up and identified Boyd, 56, as the one who repeatedly molested him starting when he was 11 or 12 and continuing into his teens.
Often, he said, the abuse happened in Boyd’s home or in his church office on Chef Menteur Highway, where the pastor would lay out pillows or clean towels and remove the boy’s clothing to prepare for what became a ritual act.
The man, then the church drummer, said Boyd would sexually molest him while his mother — a close friend of Boyd’s from childhood — worked the night shift at Wal-Mart.
Not until he was released from the church in 2010 did he feel free to reveal the abuse, he testified, facing a six-member jury in a dark, three-piece suit as he described his years of sexual abuse in grim detail. From the pulpit, meanwhile, Boyd would preach that “a man is not supposed to touch a man,” he said.
“It would make me feel awful. It would also make me feel like: ‘Is this who I am? Is this how a man is? Is this how preachers are? Or can we do this and God forgive us later?’ ” he said.
Often on the ride home, Boyd would tell him, “Son, Pop love you. I don’t want to come between you and God. I repent and I love you. This won’t happen again,” the man said. “I just got in my head, he’s going through this routine. He’s just talking just to say he’s sorry.”
The New Orleans Advocate does not name purported victims of sexual abuse.
Boyd’s supporters filled the courtroom pews as his accuser — and earlier, another man who alleged that Boyd also molested him — offered disturbing testimony.
Boyd faces a felony charge of recurring molestation of a juvenile, which carries a sentence of five to 40 years if he’s convicted.
The longtime pastor stood to address his flock in prayer during a break in the trial Thursday afternoon after Criminal District Court Judge Camille Buras and the jury had left the courtroom. He assured his followers that “people form their opinions, that’s all right,” but that all the facts had not been revealed. He received nods and “amens” in return.
His attorneys, Kerry Cuccia and Kimya Holmes, claim Boyd’s accuser was put up to his story by another pastor, Lionel Traylor, in a tussle over control of a church that Boyd and his family launched in Jackson, Mississippi.
Cuccia also suggested that Traylor was behind a federal lawsuit that the purported victim has filed against Boyd over the alleged abuse.
Boyd’s accuser testified that he often slept at the pastor’s house as a young boy, and that Boyd’s sexual advances began there, grinding against him as he slept beside one of Boyd’s own sleeping children. He said Boyd later set him up alone in a guest room.
Twice, he said, Boyd tried to force anal sex on him but stopped, frustrated. Asked to describe the level of pain on a scale of one to 10, the man responded, “12.”
They stayed in touch even after Hurricane Katrina, when the boy’s family relocated to Oklahoma and Mississippi. Boyd’s last advance came as the pastor spent a night at Traylor’s house, where the man said he’d been living. He was 19 or 20 at the time, he said.
He came forward with his story of abuse in 2010 to Traylor, who reported it to police.
“I felt really free. I could tell somebody what’s been going on, how long it was going on and not be intimidated,” he said. Before then, “I felt like this is something I might have to take to my grave.”
Boyd faces a second molestation charge from his alleged abuse of the other man who testified Thursday. Now 36, that man said Boyd started molesting him at 13, with massages quickly turning into Boyd’s efforts to find sexual gratification.
“We would pray about it. He would repent and say he’s sorry. We would go to the altar and cry it out,” he said.
The man described an icy chill from church members after he raised his allegations. “I was made to feel like a demon or something,” he said. “They put it all on me.”
Boyd’s twin brother, Slidell pastor Keith Boyd, was convicted of a similar crime in March 2012 and sentenced to a three-year prison term for felony carnal knowledge and indecent behavior with a teenage girl.
Buras sent the jury home Thursday in the middle of Cuccia’s cross-examination of Boyd’s accuser, who earlier was asked by Assistant District Attorney Andrew DeCoste what he wanted from Boyd.
“I want a public apology,” he replied. “I want him to stop. I want him to get some help.”
Follow John Simerman on Twitter, @johnsimerman.