A well-known Memphis pastor, who is also a former school board member and correctional counselor, appeared in court Monday on stalking charges.
Friday, Memphis police arrested 67-year-old Hubon Sandridge for stalking a person through online messages.
Congregation members told Local24 the senior pastor didn’t address the arrest from the pulpit Sunday morning. Monday morning, that same pastor faced a Shelby County judge, and those in the neighborhood who know him well are passionate, and sharply divided on the allegations against him.
“He’s an upstanding man, loving, caring pastor,” said Kathryn Thornton.
Thomas Missionary Baptist Church congregation members remained stunned Monday afternoon, that a man well known for his work inside this church found himself charged with stalking.
“You have people who love him, people who don’t. I love him,” said Thornton. “It doesn’t add up at all, so it didn’t bother me, I mean, I support my pastor, love him, whole family love him, going to support him throughout the whole.”
The church’s 67-year-old senior pastor is accused of stalking a person on Facebook messenger. According to an affidavit, Sandridge began sending unwanted sexually explicit messages in late January. The affidavit said the messages made the person afraid and uneasy, and Memphis Police warned Sandridge last Wednesday not to have any further contact with the victim.
But authorities said Sandridge sent another message this past Friday, which they say led to Sandridge’s admission at Memphis Police’s Sex Crimes Bureau and his arrest for misdemeanor stalking.
“He just dirty, low down, wouldn’t fix nothing, really he just all about the money,” said John Lane, who says he also knows Sandridge.
“I support Hubon a hundred percent, that’s my pastor, and I’m going down, that’s my pastor, I’m rolling up on the hill,” said Thornton.
Two of his former colleagues on the Memphis City School Board, Wanda Halbert and Sara Lewis, told Local 24 they were shocked and surprised about Sandridge’s arrest, and would be extremely disappointed if the allegations are true.
Lewis said, “Hubon is playful but I just regret it if it’s true. My God. If that’s what happened to Hubon, then we need to get him treatment.”
Halbert said, “I was shocked upon hearing the news. While everyone is innocent until proven guilty, if evidence proves this allegation to be true, I will be very disappointed.”
Hubon Sandridge’s attorney didn’t respond to a text message seeking comment about his client’s case Monday afternoon. He’s due back in court April 27th.