JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After his arrest on sex charges last year, former pastor Robert Gray admitted to a detective that he French kissed young girls at his church decades ago and hoped they would "return the affection."
Channel 4 obtained audiotapes and transcripts of the first interviews police conducted with the longtime pastor of Trinity Baptist Church.
Prior to his death earlier this month at the age of 81, Gray was facing a trial on four counts of capital sexual battery.
When Gray was arrested in May 2006 on charges of sexually abusing children in his church in the 1960s and 1970s, he did not say anything publicly, but in interrogations conducted without his lawyer present, Gray talked openly about what he did with one young girl at the school:
Officer: How did you kiss her inappropriately?
Gray: You know, French kissing.
Officer: You French kissed her?
Officer: Where were you when that happened?
Gray: I think in the office.
Gray told the officer he never molested children, that he only kissed them.
Officer: Did you ever give, give candy or money to these little girls when they left your office?
Officer: Why would they all say that you had, then?
Gray: Well, sometimes I'd give them candy.
Officer: You would give them candy?
Gray: Yes. Uh-huh.
Officer: And why would you give them candy?
Gray: It's because I loved them and I wanted to be nice to them.
During the interview, the officer told Gray he had ruined the lives of many of the victims and asked him how he felt about that.