Prominent bishop accused of sexual abuse

A prominent bishop is behind bars after police say he sexually abused young boys for decades. At least three victims were listed in the arrest affidavit of 72-year-old Henry Bishop.

According to the arrest affidavit, on October 29, 2019 police were notified of a video posted to Facebook regarding alleged sexual abuse by an unnamed bishop at Westcoast Center for Human Development.

"I was molested as a teenager," the accuser can be heard saying in the video.

Police interviewed the accuser in the video who told investigators Bishop Porter started sexually abusing him when he was 15. The affidavit says the abuse occurred in Porter's inner office.

FOX 13's Jordan Bowen spoke with one woman over the phone who didn't want to be identified but said she regularly attended the church for years.
"You couldn't see in or out of the office," the woman said.

She says she remembers Porter's inner office, which had multiple entrances.

"I always wondered to myself why were there always children going in and out of this office," the woman said.

Concerned after hearing claims of sexual abuse, she confronted the bishop in person. "He looked me straight in the eyes and giggled and walked-off," the woman said.

In the affidavit, all three victims said incidents of abuse occurred in Porter's inner office. One said it happened during school hours and immediately before and after church services.

“As you know or may not know Bishop Porter is a prominent figure of the community has been for decades. He vigorously denies the allegations against him," Porter's defense attorney said during a pre-trial hearing Friday.

Porter stepped down from his role at the church in 2016.

FOX 13 reached out to the church Friday, but our calls went unanswered.

Sarasota police believe more victims are out there so they're asking anyone with information to reach out.

As for Porter, he's facing one count of felony sexual battery with a child under 12-years-old. As of Friday night, he remained in the Sarasota County Jail.