BYE BYE, BAY?

Last week, Jacksonville’s City Council heard a few hours of public comment on the HRO. The fundamentalists showed up, most of them dressed like they’d slept in their cars, and spewed their particular brand of hatred and conflation.

One such person, a gentleman named Roy Bay, emerged from obscurity and became, however briefly, nationally famous.

During the council’s public comment marathon Tuesday night, the 56-year-old Westside resident told of his rape at “10 or 12 years old.” Bay was “sexually assaulted by the homosexual community,” he said. Then he described how he “entered into a life of homosexuality” and “going into bathrooms … and sexually assaulting kids, because I thought that’s what life was all about.”

He never went to jail for those acts, Bay said. His Duval County rap sheet bears that out, at least locally. It extends to two pages of petty crimes on the county’s online search portal. It describes a habitual criminal convicted of wrongdoing from failing to pay an Arthur Murray Dance Club in 1992 to numerous criminal and civil driving issues, including at least one eviction from a domicile in Duval County.

“For about 20 years, yes, I admit, the things I did was [sic] wrong. I sexually assaulted young kids ’cause I thought it was acceptable,” he told Action News Jax.

As he spoke at the public meeting, Bay said that he molested children in St. Louis, yet he never went to jail for these crimes. Media outlets, including FloridaPolitics.com, are following up on these claims.

And the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is investigating Bay, as well.

“This [child molestation] happens in the homosexual lifestyle, over and over again,” Bay said Tuesday.

Then in June 1985, Bay said, he “found out that wasn’t acceptable,” and said God set him free from “this type of lifestyle.”

That brought enthusiastic applause from some anti-HRO members of the crowd, many of whom were bussed in, along with Bay, on church shuttle buses.

The tale of child molestation told by Roy Bay was lauded by members of the anti-HRO faction, as it neatly reinforced its mythology connecting pedophilia and homosexuality, a narrative refuted by established science and HRO advocates.

Bay is associated with the Evangel Temple, posting on Facebook that he “worked” there. That church’s pastor Garry Wiggins is, along with Ken Adkins, among the major players in the anti-HRO media campaigns explicitly designed to bully black council members from voting their consciences on the HRO issue.

Bay’s comments somehow met with the favor of his church group, and anti-HRO agitators such as Raymond Johnson, who praised Bay in his public comment for establishing the anecdotal link between pedophilia and homosexuality that is central to the argument against what opponents frame as a “bathroom bill.”

After Council, business picked up for Roy Bay.

WJXT investigated his living situation, which, as it turns out, was in an apartment owned by the Evangel Temple. A phone call to the temple didn’t reveal the apartment’s actual address. However, some of the church’s property is at least within 1,000 feet of an elementary school — it’s illegal to live that close to a school if one has actually been convicted of the crimes that Bay said he committed as a matter of course.

Action News Jax followed Bay to church on Wednesday. He was watched over by Jesus, of course, but also by armed security, which walked out with him shortly before the service concluded, presumably for his own safety.

By the time the story blew up, there undoubtedly were church members who realized that “you know, a child molester may not be the best mouthpiece for the anti-HRO case.”

So, in the vein of LeBron James way back when, Bay took his talents to South Beach, or at least Miami.

“Hey Facebook friends and family, I love each and everyone of you and appreciate your prayer and support, if someone contacts you about me, I am asking you not to talk to them at all about anything, this is my problem and I will handle it, thanks I appreciate your love and prayer support in this time of trial and testing [sic].”

Bay can count on the love and support of at least two friends. Raymond Johnson, the GOP political operative many Christian Right campaigns employ, commended his commentary at Council.

Carter Jones, Johnson’s mini-me assistant, exulted on Facebook that Bay’s was “the most powerful testimony yet from a man that publicly told city council tonight he was molested by homosexuals in a public restroom as a child and grew up to molest children himself and was never arrested for it. Who repented became a christian and now publicly opposes this open bathroom homosexual rights law [sic].”

Will Council realize that, by lining up against the Hazouri bill, they’re throwing down with a bunch of unrepentant knaves, fools, liars, criminals, and thugs who pervert the Christian message?

That’s the open question as the HRO discussion goes on.

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