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Congregation Members Concerned Pastor Living a Double Life
By Marci Manley, Reporter
According to Branda Blakley she has trust issues with her church's spiritual leader.
"Who would worry about about doing business with their pastor? " she said.
She claims Bishop Jacob J. Taylor, the Pastor of Power Pack Ministries in Little Rock, bilked her and her husband out of money for a barbecue business they were beginning with him.
According to James Blakley, he had opened the business banking account but provided the information packet to Taylor so he could have information for making deposits.
Instead, the Blakleys claim Taylor took a temporary check, forged James' signature and bounced it to pay for his car tags and registration.
"He's supposed to be there to be your friend and listen he shouldn't have any trust issues," Branda Blakley said.
When we started digging into Jacob J. Taylor's history, we found nearly 24 nonprofits or businesses that could possibly be linked to him registered or pending registration with the Secretary of State's Office. The majority of those were geared toward religion and food service.
We also wanted to see if Jacob Taylor had a criminal history. In every instance we could find where Jacob J. Taylor was listed as a defendant, including the Department of Correction, the name Carlos Norwood was there as well. Convictions ranged from hot checks, theft and forgery to felony sexual assault.
"Anybody in the religious field -- you hear about stories, but he honestly seemed like a pretty good guy when we met him," Branda Blakley said.
When we typed in Jacob Taylor in the sex offender registry, nothing came up. But we entered Carlos Norwood, and a Level 3 Sex Offender alert popped on screen.
"I didn't know anything about no Carlos Norwood," said a nearby neighbor Ann. "I have a 1-year-old up to a 13-year-old. I can't even believe this."
We showed the photo to church members and those living in the neighborhood. They all confirmed the sex offender registry photo was the man they knew as Bishop Jacob J. Taylor.
"How could you even have a ministry and you're a registered sex offender?" Ann asked.
Taylor's Power Pack International Ministries is registered as being at an address on Lynch Drive in North Little Rock just two doors down from a daycare center. It's no longer there, but the business owners nearby also confirmed that the sex offender registry photo looked just like the man they knew as Bishop Taylor.
According to the community, children regularly attend Taylor's new church on Hanger Road in Little Rock.
"He was talking about a youth ministry program, and we were all excited to have somewhere to take the kids to go," said Ann. "If I had sent my kids down there and then found out he was a sex offender, I can't imagine."
"He's a class 3 he shouldn't be around children at all," Branda Blakley agreed. "He told us he had legally changed his name to Jacob J. Taylor. But we had heard people call him Carlos. He had said in his youth he had run-ins with the law, but he never mentioned being a sex offender."
Level 3 sex offenders, according to staff at the Arkansas Crime Information Center Sex Offender Registry, are restricted from working with children.
According to the registration law, offenders must update changes of address, which include changing a person's place of employment or a place an offender spends a substantial amount of time.
According to officials we spoke with, that would likely include time spent with children at a church.
We called the number listed for Bishop Jacob J. Taylor on his business card. He initially told us that people had been harassing him and wasn't sure why they would think he was Carlos Norwood.
He later changed the story to say Carlos Norwood was his twin brother who lived in California. According to the Department of Community Correction, Carlos Norwood, aka Jacob Taylor, is currently on parole in the state of Arkansas.
After speaking with Taylor, we followed up with Little Rock Police. According to them, Carlos Norwood is in compliance with his sex offender registration and had, in fact, called in that very day to check in with officers. Little Rock Police list Norwood's current address as Little Rock, not California.
However, Little Rock Police were trying to determine whether Jacob Taylor was an alias for Carlos Norwood in their system. Other offices, including the Department of Community Correction and the court system, showed the two names were linked in nearly every case dating back a decade.