The former pastor of a Four Oaks church charged in July with engaging in sexual acts with a juvenile has now been charged with crimes against two more underage victims.
Reverend Stephen Arthur Morris was the pastor at Oliver’s Grove Baptist Church on Highway 301 South of Four Oaks when he was originally arrested on July 5th, 2019. He resigned the same day from his role at the church. He posted bail July 26th, 2019 when his bond was lowered to $250,000 and was confined to house arrest at his residence on Parkertown Road. Morris is now back behind bars.
Today (Wednesday), Rev. Morris was served with additional warrants involving the original victim plus two additional victims who have now come forward.
Morris was indicted Oct. 7th by a Johnston County Grand Jury on 12 new charges, that’s in addition to 14 charges he already faces.
Eight of the 12 new charges are for additional incidents in 2013 and 2014 involving the first victim. Those new charges include additional counts of statutory rape and taking indecent liberties with a minor for sexual acts with the female victim, who was 13 at the time of the alleged offenses.
After the arrest of Rev. Morris was reported by the media in July, JoCoReport has learned two additional victims came forward reporting incidents to the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. Those incidents occurred in 2008. Rev. Morris is accused of soliciting nude photos of the two young girls who were 9 and 11 at the time.
Combined, the 61 year-old minister is facing 26 felony charges: 11 counts of statutory rape, 11 counts of indecent liberties with a minor, two counts of attempted indecent liberties with a minor, and one count each of attempted first degree sexual exploitation and solicitation of another to commit sexual exploitation of a minor.
Because the three victims were juveniles when the crimes occurred, authorities declined to release any additional details including how Rev. Morris knew the victims.
Morris was held Wednesday afternoon in the Johnston County Jail.