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Crime More accusers come forward against pastor

22:40  08 october  2019
22:40  08 october  2019 Source:   gastongazette.com

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Three more accusers have come forward to say a Gaston County preacher already facing child sex crimes also sexually assaulted them, according to prosecutors. Police arrested the North Belmont Church of God music and youth pastor on Saturday on four counts of indecent liberties with a child.

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Three more accusers have come forward to say a Gaston County preacher already facing child sex crimes also sexually assaulted them, according to prosecutors.

a group of people posing for the camera: Martin© Gaston Gazette/Gaston Gazette/TNS Martin

A 14-year-old girl and her parents came to Gaston County Police late last week to say 24-year-old Nicholas Martin had sexually assaulted the child. Police arrested the North Belmont Church of God music and youth pastor on Saturday on four counts of indecent liberties with a child.

a group of people sitting at a desk: Nicholas Adam Martin, associate pastor at North Belmont Church of Christ, has his first appearance in front of Judge Pennie Thrower Monday afternoon, October 7, 2019, at the Gaston County Courthouse. [Mike Hensdill/The Gaston Gazette]© Mike Hensdill/The Gaston Gazette/Gaston Gazette/TNS Nicholas Adam Martin, associate pastor at North Belmont Church of Christ, has his first appearance in front of Judge Pennie Thrower Monday afternoon, October 7, 2019, at the Gaston County Courthouse. [Mike Hensdill/The Gaston Gazette]

He was booked into Gaston County Jail under a $1 million bond.

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On Monday, District Court Judge Pennie Thrower declined to reduce his bond. His attorney had asked for a bond of $50,000, arguing Martin has no prior criminal history and lives at home with his wife.

Some of the new alleged incidents occurred in the home with Martin's wife present, according to prosecutors.

"When we have allegations involving someone who is connected to the community like this person was an associate pastor, we have to act quickly," Gaston County Police Capt. Billy Downey said before court.

Officials said Martin committed several crimes involving the 14-year-old accuser from October 2018 until September 2019.

Arrest warrants show he got a 14-year-old drunk before abusing the victim on several occasions.

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"It's such an impressionable age," neighbor Corrin Miller said. "There's nothing that can be said about that. It's a real shame for the whole community to have that so close to us."

"You have a part to play in this," Miller said. "If you know of anybody, a family member, a loved one, you need to report it."

It is unclear if the victims were members of the church or what their exact relationship was.

Police said this is an ongoing investigation.

You can reach Kevin Ellis at 704-869-1823 or Twitter.com/TheGazetteKevin. Gazette news partner WSOC TV contributed to this report.

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©2019 Gaston Gazette, Gastonia, N.C.

Visit Gaston Gazette, Gastonia, N.C. at www.gastongazette.com

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