Kent Hovind is best known as an evangelist of the idea that the earth is only 6,000 years old, also known as “young earth creationism” (YEC). To promote this idea, Hovind crisscrossed the country and preached in churches hundreds of times a year. In 2001, he also opened a small amusement park called Dinosaur Adventure Land in Pensacola, Florida, to promote YEC beliefs. Hovind gathered a small but enthusiastic following of believers who have uploaded his videos to YouTube over and over again, in hopes that someone may stumble across them and become converted to YEC.
However, Hovind himself generally disappeared from the YEC evangelistic scene in late 2006 after he was convicted on federal charges of failing to pay income and Social Security taxes for his employees, along with structuring and obstruction of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Eight years after his incarceration began, some of his followers, calling themselves Hovindicators, began agitating for Hovind’s release because they were convinced he was being persecuted for his religious beliefs and not for his tax crimes. This acquired particular urgency as Kent and a co-conspirator, Paul John Hansen, were set to go on trial in March 2015 on contempt of court and mail fraud charges arising out of Hovind’s original 2006 trial. Jonathan Schwartz and Interlock Media were on hand in March 2015 when the second trial took place in Pensacola, Florida, and interviewed a number of Hovind’s followers, Pensacola locals and others. Ultimately the jury was hung on the mail fraud charges and Hovind and Hansen were only convicted of contempt of court.
The government decided to prosecute Hovind and Hansen again on the mail fraud charges and trial was set for. Interlock Media again went down to cover the trial, but the remaining charges were dropped at the last minute. However, Interlock was able to conduct interviews with two jurors, including the juror who hung the jury on the mail fraud counts at the March trial. The Interlock team also secured interviews with Hansen’s attorney, more Hovind followers and longtime observers of the Hovind scene.
Hovind was acquitted on the contempt of court charge ondue to a technical issue. His co-defendant, Hansen, faces sentencing for contempt of court on . Hovind was released from prison to house arrest on July 9 and will be on three years’ probation beginning . He is currently getting used to the “new” YouTube technology, recording videos and planning the return of Dinosaur Adventure Land.