HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
He was sexually molested from the age of four, beaten by his own mother, and was one of the founding members of the Crips gang in California.
Back in 2010, former Crips gang member Mark Rideout recalled his hellish childhood.
"When you are being brutally raped and beaten by your mom and void of love… I couldn't understand why this was happening," Rideout said.
He traded in the brutality of his home life for the brutality of life on the streets. He helped found the Crips, a murderous gang out of Realto, California. He lived that life for years.
"As I got older, I felt God calling me out of that experience - more so than a voice," he said.
By 2010, Rideout had long since left his life of crime behind and was using his experience to reach out to other children who may be going through the same thing.
But he said the murder of Todd Brown, gunned down in the hallway of Discovery Middle School by a fellow classmate, was life changing. He said as he watched Brown's funeral online, he felt tears well up in his eyes.
"It started out when I saw that child laid out and I saw the kids coming in in murder blue. I actually felt like I'd murdered that child or I had assisted in that, so I had to do something," he said.
With everything that had happened in his own life and all that he'd participated in while living the gang lifestyle, it was the death of someone else's child that literally brought him to his knees.
"I said ok. I gave my life Crippin; I'll give my life to stop it," said Rideout. "I said, 'Ok, Lord, what would you have me do?' One thing led to another. When I said yes, he said come on."
That day, Rideout said he was called into the ministry to minister to others, especially children who are hurting.
"Kim, I had committed every crime in the book except the rape of a child by the time I was 17. I've taken a lot from life. I know this one act cannot atone for all my sins. Only one person can do that, but all I can do is give back my life," he said.
Mark Rideout will be ordained on June 24 into the UAME Church, which is the first independent black church in the country.
He said he will remain committed to helping other young men avoid the same pitfalls he could not.http://www.waff.com/story/18820284/form ... s-minister