Saturday, October 15, 2005


Pastor, son charged with rape

ST. PAULS, N.C. - Ronald Lee Simpson, a former pastor of a church in Rennert, was charged Thursday with raping a 12-year-old girl after a DNA test showed that he fathered the child's baby. Simpson's 19-year-old stepson, Rodregous Wactor, is charged with raping the same girl.

”It looks bad for a pastor to be charged because you know you put your trust in the preacher,“ said sheriff's Detective Lt. Howard Branch. ”I've never had one where the father and son have been charged with the same girl.“

Simpson, who works part-time as a barber, was arrested Thursday morning as he cut hair at the St. Pauls Barber Shop.

The investigation began in the fall of 2004 when it was reported to the Department of Social Services that the girl was pregnant. She told authorities that she had had sex with Wactor, but a paternity test showed that he was not the father. The girl then said she also had sex with Simpson, according to Branch. A separate test confirmed that the 41-year-old minister is the father of the girl's 13-month-old child, Branch said.

The child victim is now 14 years old. Her baby lives with her, Branch said.

Simpson, who lives in Parkton, also is accused of molesting a 14-year-old Red Springs girl at the St. Matthews Missionary Baptist Church in December 2004. He was pastor there at the time, but resigned after allegations surfaced that he had molested the child.

The 14-year-old girl reported in December that ”he singled her out by taking her out of a Bible study early and taking her into this office (at the church),“ according to the sheriff's report.

Emmett McRae, a deacon at St. Matthews, said the church was about to celebrate Simpson's first anniversary when he resigned in February. McRae said the church's membership increased by 50 people during the time Simpson was pastor.

”I don't know about all the charges, but it hurt our church real bad,“ McRae said. ”We trusted him. He knew how to motivate the kids. He had a way with the kids ... I guess it was too much of a way with them now.“

Simpson was charged with felony first-degree rape, felony first-degree sex offense of a child, felony statutory rape/sex offense of a child, felony attempted statutory rape of a child and felony indecent liberties with a child.

He was jailed under a $210,000 bond.

Wactor was charged with felony statutory rape of a 12-year-old child. He was jailed under a $25,000 bond.

Simpson and Wactor both remained in the county jail this morning.

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.

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