WJHG has reported that multiple charges have been brought against the pastor at Faith Baptist Church located at 114 Faith Baptist Rd, Ayden, NC 28513.
On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 66-year-old John William Lovelace. The baptist church pastor is facing multiple sex crime charges after a joint investigation was conducted by the Winterville Police Department and the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office. The Winterville police are charging Lovelace with four counts of second-degree forcible sex and three counts of sexual battery. He is also facing two counts of statutory sex offense with a child under the age of 15 and indecent liberties with a minor, per the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office.
He is currently held on a $12.4 million bond at the Pitt County Detention Center.
Attorney contributor Kristen Beightol is an experienced sexual assault attorney in North Carolina. She often represents victims of church sexual abuse. Below, Kristen highlighted the legal options of victims sexually abused by a Baptist pastor.
"Churches of all denominations are required by law to safeguard the members of their congregation. The position of a pastor gains the trust and respect of their community as well as those that attend their church. Lately, we have seen an increase in cases of pastors and other clergy members accused of sexual abuse. Religious institutions, including Baptist churches, must do all they can to avoid abuse at the hands of their clergy. This could involve background checks, security surveillance systems on the church property, and investigating any report of misconduct."
"In certain circumstances, abuse happens due to the neglect of the church and its officials. If they were aware of misconduct reports but chose to disregard them, this is an example of neglect that could potentially allow the abuse to continue. Victims of church sexual abuse should know they may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit against the church in such circumstances. Any victim that has been abused by a pastor should discuss their case with an experienced sexual assault attorney to seek the justice they deserve."