Former Pastor Sentenced To Prison

The former pastor of a Four Oaks area church was sentenced to prison Thursday after pleaded guilty to 32 criminal charges. Stephen Arthur Morris pleaded to 11 counts of Attempted Statutory Sex Offense, 13 counts of Taking Indecent Liberties with a Child, 6 counts of Second Degree Exploitation of a Child, one count of Attempted First Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor and one count of Solicitation to Commit First Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.

Under the plea agreement all charges were consolidated for one judgment. Resident Superior Court Judge Thomas H. Lock sentenced the 63 year-old defendant to a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 17 years in prison. Upon his release, Morris will be required to register as a convicted sex offender.

Morris was originally charged on July 5, 2019 with sexually assaulting a juvenile female approximately five years earlier when she was 13. The victim said Morris was her pastor at Oliver’s Grove Baptist Church. Morris resigned from his position at the time of his first arrest. On October 9, 2019, Morris was rearrested after two additional female victims came forward reporting Morris attempted to exploit them. In May 2020, more charges were added after the NC SBI completed a forensic examination of several computers and electronic storage devices previously seized from Morris.

“The District Attorney’s Office is pleased that the Defendant has been held accountable,” stated Assistant District Attorney Paul Jackson. “The Defendant’s crimes were predatory and a gross exploitation of his position of trust and authority. We agreed to the plea in close consultation with the survivor of these crimes. We are grateful to her for bravely coming forward to prevent other children from being victimized by the defendant. We continue to be impressed with her strength and character. Her desire for both justice and mercy is extraordinary. We are also grateful to lead Detective Joey Harrell and the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office for their hard work and excellent investigation.”

8 COMMENTS

  1. Mr.Morris
    I’ve known of you for quite awhile.
    You first cousin was married to my now sister in law.
    On Sundays my wife and myself and my sister in law would see you at a local restaurant on Sundays after our church service(different churches) as well as you from your church.
    You always had to make a point to speak to us and direct statements to my wife and sister in law that he was the good one his cousins were of a sorry character.
    I always felt there was something about you that was sketchy.
    NOW WE ALL KNOW!!!!

  2. Utter garbage of a human he is. The bottom OF THE bottom OF THE barrel. 10 years is not long enough! This POS will rot in Hell for eternity. The victims deserve a sincere apology AND MORE from anyone who believed him.

  3. He should have been sentenced to at least one year minimum for each charge he plead guilty to. He shouldn’t for eligible for release until he has served 32 years minimum. That would be at least a little justice for his victims. The sentence he received is a slap on the wrist for the crimes he has admitted to. Probably a lot more victims who are too afraid to come forward.

  4. The court system is not based on justice. He gets a few years and all his victims get a life sentence. I am beginning to understand the biblical principle of the death penalty: and where is the “swift justice?”

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