Local News

Youth ministers face sex charges

Posted October 22, 2010

— Two youth ministers have been charged with sex crimes involving 14-year-old girls, authorities said Friday.

Brandon Christopher Bradley, 26, of 635 Bessemer Circle in Fayetteville, was charged with seven counts of statutory rape, five counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor and one count each of sexual offense and crimes against nature.

He was being held Friday in the Cumberland County Detention Center under a $485,000 bond, pending a Monday afternoon court hearing.

Investigators with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office allege that Bradley engaged in sexual activities with two 14-year-olds in his home between August and October 2008. They allege that he forced the girls to perform sexual acts with him against their will.

Bradley worked as a youth minister at Word of God Ministries at the time of the alleged offenses, said Debbie Tanna, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office. She said she didn't know if the girls attended the church.

Meanwhile, Guilford County deputies on Thursday arrested a youth minister from Sampson County who they said drove to Greensboro to have sex with an underage girl.

Thomas Lee Elliott, 40, of 798 Butler Island Road in Roseboro, was charged with soliciting a minor over the Internet for a sexual act.

A Guilford County deputy posing as a 14-year-old girl had been chatting with Elliott online since early September, authorities said, and Elliott arranged to meet the girl for sex.

Elliott works at Autryville Baptist Church.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • flapy Oct 22, 2010

    alwayz2morrow: I see two different races here so your prejudice comment did no work.

  • Goldilox Oct 22, 2010

    Either way, this is a crime and I guess they hide behind the church which is a shame, however GOD see's all...and for "alwayz2morrow"...it doesn't matter what ethnic background these men come from, it's still wrong and I hope they ask for forgiveness for it...but just FYI...one was black and one was white...and these predators come in all races...the devil and his demons are surely the very ones that don't discriminate!!! Satan will use anyone he can.

  • sunshineee Oct 22, 2010

    In regards to the Eliott case:

    Let me begin by clarifying a few things. There was no fourteen year old girl involved in this sting. Since September, Eliott had been chatting with what he thought was a fourteen year old girl, but was actually a detective from the Guilford County Sheriff's Department. He drove to Greensboro to meet the "fourteen year old girl", with obvious intentions of engaging in sexual acts. So, while he didn't participate in an actual sexual encounter, he drove many, many miles in hopes of one. That is a crime, and he too deserves to be punished.

    Thomas Eliott was not just a corrupt youth minister. He has worked with chidren his entire career. He was a music teacher at an elementary school and also worked with special needs kids for many years. He was an emcee for local pageants, and an announcer for the local highschool football games. How do we know this was the first time? We don't. Maybe this is just the first time he got caught. I'm not trying to suggest that

  • visionofsamsara Oct 22, 2010

    This is horrible and i hope those people spend the rest of their life behind bars. from what i hear child molesters are made particularly uncomfortable in prison.

  • woww Oct 22, 2010

    Reading these comments have really made me wonder what goes through some people's minds. Let us not forget that the only victims in these cases (technically there was no real victim in the Elliot case because it was a detective but either way..) are not only the young girls. What about the other young people of their youth groups? I cannot imagine the amount of betrayal they probably feel. I hurt for them, as well as these men's families. By saying that there are other "victims" I am in no way trying to take away what the girls went through. Another thing, WHY do people ALWAYS blame the parents?! I'm sure the parents of these girls feel horrible without some ignorant people talking about how they failed as parents. The parents of the youth from these churches probably felt as if they could trust these men. Haven't most people been betrayed by someone they thought they could trust?

    My heart is breaking for everyone involved in these cases..except for the men, that is.

  • IdoN0TliveinDurham Oct 22, 2010

    They're Christian, so...not perfect - just forgiven. At least they're not gay - that's the only kind of sex god hates.

  • sunshineee Oct 22, 2010


    He is a grown man, and he has no buisness having any type of sexual relationship with fourteen year old little girls. Nevertheless, he did just that and now he is going to have to pay the price.

    My point is this: place blame where blame is due. Bradley is a pedophile. It is his fault, no matter how you look at it.

  • sunshineee Oct 22, 2010

    In regards to the Bradley case:
    I would really love to know how some of you can justify blaming the girls and their parents. While I do agree that parents need to be involved in their children's lives, you can not blame them for this monstrosity. Parents cannot hold their children's hands every hour of every day. These are young and impressionable fourteen year old girls. And let's face it, good decision making is not a skill most fourteen year olds have. Everyone makes mistakes, especially at that age. I am still unclear as to whether these girls were forced, or if all parties involved were consenting participants. I am also unsure as to whether these girls were even a part of his church youth group, but seeing as the spokeswoman for the sheriff's office didn't even know the answer to this, I doubt we will ever know. Either way, the one to blame is Bradley himself. He was a trusted man in a position of power, and he used that to his advantage (surprise, surprise). He is a grown man, a

  • shortcake53 Oct 22, 2010

    Ok, mandatory psych testing, starting with "Mr. Sensible". Who has no sense whatsoever.

  • Charlotte1776 Oct 22, 2010

    "It's not the crime it's the cover up. When word got out the Catholic Church was protecting their own to save their own image, well you know the rest."

    40 years ago when most of those cases happened, child abuse was NEVER talked about in public. Everyone, including protestants, considered it something to be swept under the rug and ignored. Many families of the victims did not want the crimes known. Now that times are different it's being brought out into the open and being dealt with the way it should be.