LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A convicted sex offender tells Fox 16 Investigates he is a victim of the system, and plans a civil rights march to vindicate himself and others who he believes were wrongfully convicted. Investigator Marci Manley and photojournalist Paden Johnson take us inside the mind of a sex offender.
“I’m a man that been through a lot, but by the grace I’m still living,” he said, dressed from head to toe in a white suit.
Bishop Jacob Taylor was behind a podium instead of a pulpit last Sunday morning, aiming to evoke the response one might expect in a crowded congregation, though no one attended his state capitol speech.
“I been to jail on false accusations several times,” he said. “And now, I’m standing up as a civil rights leader.”
A VICTIM OF THE SYSTEM
It was the second press conference Taylor held to an empty audience. He initially came onto the radar at Fox16 News in 2014 when members of his Power Pack Ministries church accused him of forgery and hiding his history as a convicted sex offender. He was convicted in 2004 for sexual assault under the name of Carlos Norwood.
Taylor denies the allegations against him, explaining away the accusations as a misunderstanding and a double cross. And, as this reporter would find through an hour-long interview, he has an explanation for every scenario he’s been caught up in.
“Did they know you were a sex offender?” this reporter asked.
“Yes, they did,” he said. This answer despite several other members of the congregation, and members of the community surrounding his church, noting he never made the disclosure to them.
Orchestrated efforts against him, Taylor said, included the accusations a 15-year-old member of his church lodged against him in 2003. It was, he said, a coordinated plot created by conniving women in an effort to blackmail him as a pastor.
“That was the whole ordeal of getting me arrested because they thought they were going to get some money out of me,” he said. “I had been helping members of my church with light bills, and they wanted money. When I told them I didn’t have any, they planned to accuse me of rape.”
In a 2003 arrest warrant, police claimed Taylor admitted to having sex with the girl. He claims he was made to admit to the charges under duress, though his timeline was off in when he was accused of confessing.
“A member of the England Police Department pulled me over while I was out on bond. He threatened me with a gun and told me that I was going to admit it or he would kill me. I was fearing for my life.”
The document that notes police claim Taylor confessed, which included his describing having sex with the girl in his church, was the arrest warrant. The arrest warrant was issued prior to Taylor ever being released on bond.
“So you never confessed to having sex with her?” we asked again. Taylor shook his head no.
Taylor believes police misused evidence found inside his home, which included sex toys, adult magazines featuring teen girls, a Pulaski County Sheriff’s badge and handcuffs. According to Taylor, none of the items aside from one magazine and the badge belonged to him. The badge was something he bought from the pawn shop. An security uniform was his attire he wore to work as a guard for an adult video store. That’s the place, he said, where he met his roommate who owned the other items.
“I had a roommate who was a male at the time he worked at the adult video bookstore on 65th Street,” Taylor said. “He had in his room several items that they retrieved, but there was nothing but a magazine in my room and there was no toys or anything like that in my room,” he said.
“Your roommate, what was his name?” this reporter asked.
“I don’t remember his name – it’s been so many years,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he pleaded to the charge (no contest instead of guilty, he would contend) due to bad advice from a public defender. Since then, he’s been a victim of the system.
“I don’t consider myself a sex offender, because I was falsely accused and false documentation filed against me in Lonoke County,” he said.
A WEB OF LIES
Taylor said prison officials lied about why he was kicked out of a sex offender treatment program in prison, where they alleged he failed to make progress or follow rules. They dubbed him “not amenable”.
“I was kicked out because I signed out. I quit. The RSVP program wants you to say that you did it, without remorse,” he said. “I’m not fixing to get in here and lie.”
According to him, another teenager Fox16 spoke with last summer who claimed her mother had been duped into giving Taylor guardianship three years ago was also lying. She lied about his forcing her to sleep in his bed. She lied when she told us Taylor claimed to be part of the North Little Rock Police force to gain her mother’s trust.
“I said I worked with North Little Rock and Little Rock as far as the teen violence,” he said.
“So, you’ve never impersonated a police officer or attempted to have people believe you’re a member of law enforcement?” this reporter asked. Taylor confirmed he hadn’t.
So, what about the community members surrounding his church who also claimed he told them he was a retired Arkansas State Trooper? Well, they were lying, too.
“They lied. That has never come out of my mouth. I have never said that,” Taylor said.
Taylor claims he was victimized by the Little Rock Police force. The reason he’s facing a felony charge of failure to register as a sex offender was due to a police officer giving him bad information regarding the need to disclose his church activities.
“The only thing he told me that was written in black and white, that during the 15 years – you couldn’t be unsupervised,” Taylor said. “It’s not like I didn’t report my home. I just didn’t report my church. I was the Bishop there, I had pastors working underneath me.”
Taylor then claimed that he still had time to report his church, saying he had only begun that church less than 10 days earlier, despite saying he had been working as a pastor for years after being convicted of a sex offense.
“I changed my name because of a family situation, not because I was trying to get around the law. And I don’t feel like I need to tell people what I went through. People in this state know me, I’m well-known,” he said. “I’m trying to get up on my feet I shouldn’t have to tell somebody else I”m a sex offender when I know the truth that I’m not.”
A LONG MARCH TO 2016
Taylor said he’s not interested in looking at the past. He has plans to vindicate himself and others with a civil rights March in 2016. His points of contention with the system and society cover a long list — from police violence against minorities and teen rape to wrongful convictions and treatment behind bars. Taylor’s efforts are under the banner of the Dr. Jacob Jerome Taylor Bureau Investigation Coalition Foundation.
Taylor claims he has a doctor of divinity, providing a certificate from Days of Thunder Ministries, Inc. in Bald Knob. The certificate is from 2009 and notes an honorary degree of that title. However, the bishop of that organization does not claim its an accredited organization, adding that it is now defunct in Arkansas. The bishop went on to say that Taylor initially misled the pastors who worked for his organization. After 2009, they stripped him of his certification through their organization and his doctoral title, noting he did not disclose to them that he was a convicted sex offender.
“I believe I can bring the people back together where we all started years ago in comparison to Dr. Martin Luther King,” Taylor said, closing his press conference, convinced his efforts will gain national attention and traction.
But before he can march on Washington, he’ll have to address these new charges in court. And the system could delay his dream set out on the capitol steps.