Barry Cole Poyner was scrubbed from the anti-gay Kirksville Church of Christ for attempting to purchase sex. He now faces up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
It probably isn't new to hear anti-gay sentiments from a conservative church leader. In fact, it has sadly become the norm. However, it's always fun to see those who preach hate get caught red-handed doing exactly what they preach against. Most recently, a homophobic church leader was discovered attempting to buy sex on Grindr, a dating app aimed at gay men. 57-year-old Barry Cole Poyner of Kirksville, Missouri, an elder at the Kirksville Church of Christ and a professor at Truman State University, faces up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 for his hypocritical crime, Queerty reports.
Poyner was caught when police officials set up a fake Grindr profile earlier this month in order to find sexual predators and other potential criminals. After "matching" with the fake profile under the name "DILF," Poyner stated in a message that he “would love to have a sugar daddy relationship." He also explained that he had given out gift cards, clothing, and even money to his young male partners in previous relationships. He then told the undercover police officer that he would buy him a full tank of gas and “might throw in an Arby’s card” in exchange for sexual favors. They subsequently agreed to meet at a local gas station on December 3.
When police officers showed up to the agreed meeting spot, Poyner immediately attempted to speed away. Thankfully, he was swiftly apprehended a few blocks away. As per official police documents, he informed the officers that he “was not doing anything with a minor.” Nonetheless, a policeman informed him that he was being charged with soliciting a prostitute. To this, Poyner responded by trying to explain that he “was not going to do that” and that he "was going to give him some gas." The officer promptly notified the former church leader that this was equivalent to paying for sex, to which Poyner simply said he was only "trying to help."
The police were prompted to conduct their undercover investigation after receiving a tip from an anonymous source claiming that he had been “harassing male Truman students for sexual contact as well as offering to pay for items for sexual favors by using the app Grindr.” The tip helped police officers apprehend a predator. Poyner has since been slapped with a class B misdemeanor count of patronizing prostitution and could face up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 if he is found guilty. Furthermore, the Kirksville Church of Christ has removed Poyner from their website in addition to scrubbing his name from sermons. Truman State University, too, has placed him on suspension. The school confirmed in a statement, "He has been placed on suspension and informed that he is not allowed on campus, cannot have contact with any student organizations or participate in any campus events or activities." The irony of the whole situation, of course, is not lost on anyone. If only Poyner had focused on loving thy neighbor and living by the principles of empathy, love, and compassion that the Bible actually propounds.