Who Is Kent Hovind and Why Is He in Prison?
By Art Smith
If you don’t already know about Kent Hovind, be sure to research him and listen to his speeches and debates. They are truly fascinating. Kent Hovind is a Baptist minister arguing for Creationism and he is very convincing. Dr. Hovind also spoke about the age of the earth (young earth), the flood, the dangers and implications of the wide promotion of the Evolution theory, dinosaurs, the new world order, and most recently Post-Tribulation Rapture theory. He has traveled extensively to different schools and universities and debated many professors. Many believe that his controversial views and his powerful delivery are the real reason he is in prison.
Dr. Hovind has been in prison for eight years now, and his case shows disturbing facts about how our courts currently operate. No matter what your religion or beliefs on creation versus evolution, his sentencing seems much harsher than any wrongdoing he allegedly has committed and it points to much bigger issues. His original sentence is nearing its end, but now Dr. Hovind is facing new charges that may keep him in prison for the rest of his life. Dr. Hovind maintains he is innocent and that he hasn’t broken any laws and that contrary to what many believe he is not a tax protestor and is willing to pay any taxes he is shown he owes.1
Dr. Hovind founded Creation Science Evangelism in 1989. It is a ministry dedicated to providing evidence against evolution and showing links between true science and the Bible. He was very successful, giving 900 speeches and debates per year in schools, universities, and churches as well as appearing on radio and television. 2 His troubles started in the mid-1990s when he started receiving letters from the IRS regarding the financing of his ministry. Dr. Hovind did not incorporate his ministry with a 503(c) tax exempt status and had contractors and volunteers working in his ministry, not employees. In order to get answers to questions about ministry and taxes, he wrote an IRS agent, an attorney, and a personal accountant (per IRS instructions), and asked them to look over the finances and operations of his ministry. They all wrote back saying everything is fine and he is not breaking any laws. He sent that documentation back to the IRS and didn’t hear from them again until 2004 when they raided his ministry, stole money, and took many of his documents and records. According to Dr. Hovind they did all of this without any prior recent letters showing what law he is breaking.3In 2005 he had a Grand Jury convened against him but he was not allowed to testify or participate. He again asked what law he was breaking and got no response. A year later in 2006 they stormed the property with a SWAT team. 4
On the next day Dr. Hovind did a radio broadcast. He prayed for himself in handling the situation and for the agents who raided him, and was charged with threatening an IRS agent because of that prayer. He claims his prayer was in no way threatening. He said something to the effect of, “God, I want you to handle these folks who came against me, I don’t know what they want, I can’t handle them, they are way too powerful for me, I turn them over to you, you judge them as you see fit.” He was later charged with 3 years in prison for this prayer for threatening an IRS agent in the performance of his duty. They arrested Dr. Hovind and his wife and they were arraigned in front of a Magistrate for three charges:
1) Twelve counts of not withholding taxes from employees, (According to Dr. Hovind, they didn’t have employees)
2) Forty-five counts of structuring (According to Dr. Hovind, they told him “you withdrew money out of your bank in amounts less than $10,000”),
3) Threatening an IRS agent (the “threatening” prayer).
In regard to the structuring charge, Kent Hovind claims he had never heard the term before. They were making deposits less than $10,000 once every 12 days in the operation of their ministry, not hiding any money. 5
Transactions of $10,000 or more get reported by the banks to the government, but making a cash deposit of less than $10,000 in an attempt to avoid that scrutiny, is called structuring and may be considered a felony. It is meant to catch drug dealers and other criminals. However, it is being applied to citizens in arbitrary ways that have nothing to do with crime or drugs and can lead to the seizure of bank accounts and more. For more details, refer to “‘Structuring:’ who can get away with it, and who can’t” and “The federal ‘structuring’ laws are smurfin’ ridiculous,” two great articles that explain structuring in detail. 6, 7
Kent Hovind was sentenced to ten years in prison, of which he has served 99 months. His wife, Jo Hovind, was sentenced to nine months in prison and has served her sentence. 8 He was supposed to be released to house arrest in February 2015 and complete release in July 2015, but that is now in question because there are new charges against him that may keep him in prison for the rest of his life. The new charges against Kent Hovind have to do with the church property real estate, which the government has forfeited. He filed paperwork with intent to notify the potential buyer of lis pendens or suit pending, and for this he is charged with five counts of mail fraud, each of which carries a 20-year sentence, up to 100 years total! 9
There are many more issues with this case that speak of gross injustice but going over each one is beyond the scope of this article. One of them is that Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers allegedly said that Kent Hovind’s crimes are “worse than rape” when it is obvious he did not hurt anyone or rape anyone and that is not at all what the trial was about. There were witnesses who heard her say those words, yet they were later removed from official court transcripts. Dr. Hovind paid $6000 to get those transcripts, and he had to wait 16 months to get them when it usually takes two months. This same judge will preside over the case again in the coming court date on March 2, 2015. 10 Two juries were dismissed before a third one finally convicted Kent Hovind and his wife. Kent Hovind is hoping his case from 2006 will be overturned and his reputation restored. He maintains he is innocent of all charges and that he was never shown what laws he has broken and he believes he was unjustly imprisoned and that his case needs to be overturned. 11
In my opinion Kent Hovind is innocent. I believe he was set up on trumped up or even bogus charges because of his Creationist message and the fact that he was very convincing and dangerous to the Evolutionist worldview that is promoted so heavily. I believe at least some of the charges that are being applied against him, such as structuring, can be applied to almost anyone and they are currently used against other innocent citizens who operate legitimate businesses, have committed no crime, and are just depositing money into their bank accounts. I believe George Lujack is absolutely correct and said it best when he says that Kent Hovind is a “prisoner of a cultural religious war.” 12
There are several ways we can help Dr. Hovind. He would like to bring attention and publicity to his case, and he gets joy in the fact that new people continue to learn about him and his work while he is in prison and unable to pursue it. He is also seeking legal help and advice but so far refusing to compromise and also wants to preserve his reputation and that of his ministry. His website is http://www.2peter3.com/. On it you can read Kent’s blog, read court documents and transcripts, sign a petition to release him, or donate to his legal fund. A great way to keep up to date on the case is through Rudy Davis’ YouTube channel, LoneStar1776. It has many phone calls with Kent from prison and information about his case. Another great website is freekenthovind.com. There are many interviews and videos on YouTube with Kent Hovind speaking in detail about his case and his work. If you haven’t seen at least some of them, spend some time on them and consider ways you can support him in his fight for justice and freedom.
1) “Live jailhouse interview with Kent Hovind on the Manning Report.”
2) Dr. Kent Hovind’s Blog, About Dr. Hovind.
3) “Live jailhouse interview with Kent Hovind on the Manning Report.”
4) “Live jailhouse interview with Kent Hovind on the Manning Report.”
5) “Live jailhouse interview with Kent Hovind on the Manning Report.”
6) Olson, Walter. “’Structuring:’ who can get away with it and who can’t.” Overlawyered. April 12, 2012
7) Balko, Radley. “The federal ‘structuring’ laws are smurfin’ ridiculous.” The Washington Post. March 14, 2014
8) “Live jailhouse interview with Kent Hovind on the Manning Report.”
9) “11/28/14 Live phone update with Kent Hovind.”
10) “Worse than rape! Anti-Christian Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers says Kent’s crime is worse than rape.”
11) “11/28/14 Live phone update with Kent Hovind.”
12) Lujack, George. “Free Kent Hovind. Imprisoned 8 years; Now Facing New Trial for Bogus Charges with a Biased, Anti-Christian Judge Presiding.” Cowger Nation.