In May of 2021, Pastor Thomas Gilman Hartman and his wife founded Wings of Peace, a Christian transitional living facility for those who were released from prison. The purpose of the halfway house was to provide help and support to the previously incarcerated as they transitioned into their new lives while remaining sober. Though he claimed to provide services and basic necessities to former drug offenders, investigators discovered Hartman was using his position of power to sexually assault one of his residents, The Arkansas Democrat reports.
A 23-year-old, who was required to live at the location because he was on probation, told authorities that he had known Hartman for around fives years and had considered him a father figure. His feelings changed when he was forced to engage in sexual intercourse multiple times with the pastor. The victim says he obliged because Hartman had bonded him out of jail, and he was afraid that he would be turned in if he decided to leave or report his assaults.
Hartman admitted to the sexual contact with the victim, but claims that the acts were consensual. According to The Arkansas Democrat, Hartman has a history of committing sexual abuse. In 1998, he was convicted of sexual assault in the second degree of a child and was released on parole five years later. He is currently registered as level 3 sex offender.
On January 20th, Hartman was arrested and charged with sexual assault. While searching his home, deputies from the Benton County Sheriff’s Office discovered a rifle and he was later charged with possession of a firearm by certain persons. Despite his history, Hartman was released on a $150,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court for his arraignment February 27th.