Naked Preacher Pleads Guilty VINTON, La., August 25 (AP) -- The preacher who crashed a car
Naked Preacher Pleads Guilty
VINTON, La., August 25 (AP) -- The preacher who crashed a
carload of naked Pentecostals into a tree pleaded guilty to
misdemeanor traffic charges Wednesday and was allowed to leave
"I would like to apologize to the people of Vinton and
Floydada for everything ... and I ask for their forgiveness,"
Sammy Rodriguez, 29, of Floydada, Texas, said afterward.
Magistrate Kent Savoie asked why Rodriguez and 19 relatives
left their clothes in a pilgrimage from Texas that ended Aug.
19 with a 90 mph chase through Vinton.
"I don't know what possessed you to do what you did, but
I'm relying on the statement you were told to do so by some
higher being," Savoie said.
"It wasn't God, sir," Rodriguez answered, his voice nearly
Rodriguez, pastor of the Templo Getsemani Assembly of God
Church, told police after his arrest that God had told the
family to leave Texas and, later, to leave behind their
After Wednesday's hearing, he told The Vinton News he had a
vision from God on Aug. 17 telling him Judgment Day was at
hand and his family had to go to Florida and become
Rodriguez pleaded guilty to reckless driving and to flight
from police, who arrested him after his 1990 Pontiac Grand Am
ran through the fence around Vinton's baseball field and into
If Rodriguez pays $975 to fix the fence and a telephone
pole, city prosecutors said they will dismiss a charge of
criminal damage to property.
Although Rodriguez and all 19 passengers were naked, police
did not bring charges of indecent exposure.
"The statute states that for indecent exposure, you have to
be exposing yourself in order to arouse someone," Court Clerk
Mary Vice said. "That wasn't their intent."
Savoie gave Rodriguez 90 days to pay for the fence and 30
to pay a $650 fine. Rodriguez was ordered to spend 17 days in
jail, but the magistrate gave him credit for six days served
and suspended the rest.
Rodriguez said he planned to leave immediately for
Floydada, a Texas Panhandle town about 550 miles northwest of
"When I return to Floydada I am pretty certain that I will
no longer be the pastor of my church, unless the people there
can forgive me," he said. "I plan to look for a job as soon as
I get back."
Rodriguez' wife's family sent her a plane ticket and she
returned Friday, and a relative drove the other 18 people to
Wauchula, Fla., relatives said.
If the same people claimed they heard Satan telling them to
do what they did, any bets on them getting off so lightly?
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank