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Hartselle Enquirer

Minister to face judge Oct. 17

By Staff
Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle's historic Camp Meeting got under way last weekend without Rev. Gradson Tanner at the helm.
Tanner, pastor of Salem United Methodist Church and president of the Hartselle Camp Meeting Association, was among 27 others cited last week as part of an investigation into indecent acts at Wheeler Wildlife Refuge. Tanner submitted his resignation to the association's board of directors July 27, three days before the event began.
Hartselle Police Chief Ron Puckett, first vice president of the association, will serve as president until new officers are elected in September.
Tanner will appear before a Huntsville judge Oct. 17 to make an initial appearance on the charges.
Jill Ellis with the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Alabama said penalties will be determined based on each individual's charges.
Tanner has denied the charges and said he stopped at a pier at the refuge to check out fishing in the area and then decided to use the restroom at the edge of the nearby woods.
Tanner was one of five local men cited in the sting. Others are Walter E. Brannan, 47, of Hartselle; Jimmy A. Meares, 62, of Somerville; Ronald D. Collins, 53, of Hartselle; and Byron L. Roberts, 42, of Hartselle.

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