Church Pastor Charged With Statutory Rape

A pastor at a Johnston County church is in custody under a $2.5 million bond after his arrest on 10 felony charges.

Reverend Stephen Arthur Morris, the pastor at Oliver’s Grove Baptist Church on Highway 301 South of Four Oaks, was arrested Friday afternoon at his home on Parkertown Road.

Rev. Morris had been under criminal investigation since June 28, 2019, according to Johnston County Sheriff’s Captain Jeff Caldwell.

According to warrants and court documents, Morris is accused of engaging in sexual acts with a female juvenile between June 2013 and June 2014. At the time the alleged offenses occurred the victim was 13.  The victim, who is now 19, reported the incident to authorities last month.

Because the incident involves a juvenile victim, authorities would not disclose any additional details, including how the victim and suspect knew one another.

Morris was charged with 5 counts of statutory rape/sex offense and 5 counts of taking indecent liberties with a child.  At last report, the 61 year-old pastor remains in the Johnston County Jail under the $2.5 million bond.