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Police Arrest Anchorage Minister on Child Porn Charges

By Austin Baird, Political, Rural Reporter, abaird@ktuu.com
Published On: Dec 02 2013 02:08:00 PM AKST
Updated On: Dec 02 2013 10:49:27 PM AKST
ANCHORAGE -

A local minister was arrested on child pornography charges, and Anchorage police ask anyone with information about further abuse to come forward.

57-year-old Ronald Paul Rathbun, Sr., is a minister for Eternal Love Ministry, located in the Boniface Plaza at 360 Boniface Parkway.

Rathbun was arrested on separate counts of distributing and possessing child pornography.

According to police, an investigation began this summer when an Alaska State Trooper was working undercover and received images depicting sexual exploitation of children.

When police realized the suspect was based in Anchorage, the investigation was handed over to the Anchorage Police Department Cyber Crimes Unit.

APD detective James Estes received additional files from Rathbun over the past few months that further depict sexual exploitation of children.

Rathbun was located at an Island Drive residence in East Anchorage, and a search warrant was obtained and served Nov. 26.

The arrest surprised Boniface Parkway property manager Chad Graham, who said the ministry has been located at the strip mall for several years.

"There's never been any problem with him at all," Graham said. "He pays his rent on time. The only time we ever spoke was to renew his leases."

Eternal Love Ministry is described on its website as a "young ministry founded, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, in 2005."

The ministry is nondenominational, according to the website: "Frequently when people ask Pastor Ron "What denomination are you?" his reply is, 'What denomination was Jesus?'"

When contacted by KTUU, Sister Mila Rathbun of Eternal Love Ministry declined to comment on the charges and only said, "Please stop talking, I'm contacting my lawyer."

Rathbun was remanded to the Anchorage Correctional Facility, where he is being held in lieu of $15,000 bail.

Police said Ronald Rathbun had "access to children" and believe there could be additional victims of sexual exploitation in the community. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact APD at 786-8500.

Ronald Paul Rathbun, Sr.

Channel 2's Adam Pinsker contributed to this report