Bristol pastor, Christian radio station employee charged with indecent exposure

Kingsport Time-News/July 31, 2007
By Kacie Dingus Breeding

A Christian radio station employee and Bristol pastor has been charged with indecent exposure as well as DUI and violation of the open container law.

WZAP-AM 690's owner, Al Morris has issued a brief statement Monday afternoon saying, "As many of you are aware Tommy Tester, an employee of WZAP was recently arrested in Washington County, Tenn.

"The allegations, as reported by the news media, are serious and are in no way condoned or accepted by the ownership and management of WZAP.

"We do not know all the details and facts concerning the arrest; but for the time being Tommy has been relieved of his responsibilities at the station until such facts surrounding the case are determined.

"We pray that this matter can be quickly resolved.

In the meantime, we ask you to pray for Tommy and for WZAP."

The Johnson City Press reported Saturday that Thomas Dale Tester, 58, of 17426 Hobbs Road, reportedly faces charges of driving under the influence, indecent exposure and violation of the open container law.

Morris said Monday in a phone interview that Tester, known to listeners as "Tommy Tester," is also pastor of Gospel Baptist Church on Reedy Creek Road. "So far, they (members of the congregation) have rallied behind Tommy," Morris said.

Morris, who was on vacation when he first heard about the allegations and read the details in the Johnson City Press, added, "It's the biggest shock of my life."

Having since read the two police reports over and over again, Morris spoke of his desire to wait until all the facts are revealed in court before condemning Tester, "I know what the police report has told me and I know what Tommy has told me--Tommy has denied all of it."

Morris said his staff, the station's listeners and members of Tester's congregation were all shocked about Johnson City police officers' allegations.

When he talked to Tester, "He said they (Johnson City police) scared him--he was scared to death and didn't know what he'd said or what he'd admitted or anything else," Morris said.

According to the Johnson City Press article, Tester allegedly pulled up in a blue 2007 Toyota Camry and offered to give Johnson City police officers oral sex when they arrived at 308 S. Belmont Street to investigate a report of indecent exposure.

Tester, allegedly wearing a skirt, then reportedly got out of his car at the Belmont Car Wash and urinated in a wash bay in public view with children present.

A search of Tester's vehicle reportedly revealed a half-empty pint-sized bottle of vodka and an empty bottle of Oxycodone in the passenger floorboard. Morris said Tester had told him about the painkiller prescription, which he'd said was prescribed due to previous back surgeries.

According to reports, Tester also allegedly admitted to police that he had been drinking and failed all field sobriety tests.

Morris said he'd relieved Tester of his duties at the station pending the outcome of the case.

Tester was released on bond from the Washington County Detention Center Friday afternoon and is scheduled to appear in Sessions Court on Tuesday.

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