A Montana pastor and anti-gay activist — who once testified before a Montana legislative committee that homosexuality was a “sin worthy of death” — has been charged with six felony counts of theft and fraud in a phony investment scheme that bilked a man of a $150,000 inheritance in 2008.
Harris Himes, pastor of the Big Sky Christian Center in Hamilton, Mont., turned himself in Wednesday morning after learning that there was a warrant for his arrest, reported the Missoulian.
District Judge James Haynes issued bench warrants on Tuesday for Himes and James “Jeb” Bryant after attorneys for the state Office of the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance filed six felony charges against the two.
The charges included theft, fraud, conspiracy to commit both, failure to register a security and failure to register as a salesman of same.
According to court records, Himes and Bryant claimed to own a business, Duratherm Building Systems, and promised at least one investor a large return on his $150,000. But the investor claimed to have never received any returns or confirmation of sale, nor could he get his money back.
On Thursday, Himes told KGVO Radio that he is “without sin or guilt with regard to this unnamed person” and that he believes gay and pro-abortion activists are behind the charges.
Himes is likely the most well-known anti-gay activist in the state of Montana. He is president of the conservative group Montana Eagle Forum, and as a Montana state bar certified attorney, Himes performs pro bono work on behalf of the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund.