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USA News

US church leaders 'deeply grieved' over North Carolina pastor's alleged actions

by Chantalle Edmunds

Baptist church leaders in North Carolina have issued a statement saying they are "deeply grieved" after one of their pastors was charged with child sex offences.

Trent Holbert, 41, who was a former pastor of The Ridge Church, North Carolina, was arrested in May and has been charged with one count of indecent liberties with a child and two counts of statutory sex offence, as reported by the Biblical Recorder.

Holbert has since resigned from his post.

He was previously the pastor of Epoch Fellowship Church in Kentucky up to 2017.

"Trent Holbert has resigned from his position as the head pastor of the Ridge Church," said a statement released from church elder Drew Wheeler. 

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of our former head pastor and the families of all of those involved. The care and protection of children and minors is a biblical and moral mandate that is taken seriously by the Ridge Church. We do not condone such actions as the alleged, and our prayers are with the victims of any such abuse."

The North Carolina convention's statement said leaders were "deeply grieved by the charges."

"As a pastor, Trent has been a speaker at convention-related events for adults in the recent past," the statement said. 

"He underwent background and reference checks prior to his participation in those events. We are not aware that he had any contact or dealings with minors as part of those events. The care and protection of children and minors is both a biblical and moral mandate that we take very seriously. We are praying for everyone who has been impacted by these alleged heinous crimes. N.C. Baptists are offering support to the local association and the church as they face these challenging times, as well. We stand with any and all victims of abuse and are committed to cooperating with authorities during their investigation. We encourage you to contact the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office if you have any relevant information."

On June 17th, Holbert appeared before a judge and said that he has retained a lawyer.

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