More details have been revealed on The First Sixth Street Baptist Church in Port Arthur. A restraining order issued Thursday against Rev. Donald Toussaint for misusing church funds and disrupting services will keep Toussaint off the grounds of the church. Now church members want to cut off all ties to Toussaint.
Church members learned of Toussaint's armed robbery conviction after he was elected pastor in 2009.
However, his criminal past also includes time on death row in 1982 before the armed robbery conviction was reduced from capital murder in 1992. Toussaint served 10 years in prison for the robbery that resulted in the deaths of 2 people.
The church voted in 2009 to allow reverend Toussaint to lead their congregation despite his past, but after members say he used church funds inappropriately, they now want to sever ties.
Attorney for the church, Langston Adams, says Rev. Donald Toussaint used to be Donald Abram. He changed his name after being convicted of a Miss. robbery in 1982.
"He was originally charged with capital murder involving the death of two individuals. That conviction was over turned," said Attorney Adams.
Adams says ten years after the capital murder charge was overturned, Abrams pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of armed robbery.
He then became Donald Toussaint.
"The logical reason would be to avoid detection of that armed robbery conviction," said Adams.
The attorney says the Port Arthur church didn't know about Toussaint's past and didn't know his real name until they started paying child support payments under the name Abram on Toussaint's behalf when he was hired as pastor 2009.
Members continued to let him lead the church. Now they say he has misused funds, and they want him gone.
"They lawfully terminated their pastor, and the pastor refused to leave the church," said Adams.
The restraining order filed Thursday shows Toussaint demanded the church only report half of his $71,000 salary to the Internal Revenue Service and that the church pay his child support.
The restraining order says Toussaint also failed to record any "love offerings" or donations given to him from church members to supplement his salary.
He also had the church hire a secretary for him.
"Based upon what my clients have informed me, he has used his position of trust to manipulate the very people who he swore he would serve and protect," says Adams.
We went to Toussaint's home to get his side of the story, but no one answered the door. We asked attorney Adams if the church would be seeking a lawsuit to get their money back or if they could face any investigation for their part in not reporting tToussaint's full salary to the IRS. Adams said they simply want Toussaint out of their lives.
Toussaint's attorney Christine Stetson with the Bernsen Law Firm released a statement Friday on behalf of the pastor. She says, "When this matter is brought to a full and fair hearing, pastor Toussaint and Deacon Clyde Levy, also named in the restraining order, will be exonerated of all the outrageous allegations being made against them, and the parties who are currently attempting to hijack this church from the congregation will be exposed.