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Sexual misconduct charge rocks Harnett County church

Posted March 27, 2011

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— A Harnett County church was rocked this weekend by allegations of sexual misconduct against its pastor.

Paul Burke Johnson, 74, who is pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Dunn, was arrested Thursday on a charge of sexual battery.

Johnson did not show up at church Sunday.

"Right now everybody is just confused, upset. Everybody is in tears," church member James Norris said. "It's a tough time for everybody."

Norris said he helped Johnson meet a $20,000 bond to be released from jail.

"He was very confused, upset with everything going on. I'm not going to say he was a wreck, but it was tough on him," he said.

Benson police, who are investigating the case, haven't released any details about the allegations. Sources close to WRAL, though, said the incident happened at a nursing home.

"He was at the nursing home," Norris said. "What was he doing there? Well, he's a pastor. He goes around and prays, and he visits the sick."

calvary baptist Sexual misconduct charge rocks Harnett County church

Johnson is also on the Board of Ministers for the Campbell University Divinity School. University President Jerry Wallace said he had just heard of the allegations and wasn't prepared to comment on them.

Members of Calvary Baptist said they are praying for direction.

"We're just trying to come together as one and see Dr. Johnson and everyone through this thing," Norris said.

Johnson is due to appear in court Monday.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • carroln Mar 28, 2011

    Guilty until proven innocent! The poor man might have been helping the person not assaulting them. If you have ever been to a nursing home you would know that the patients dont get the proper care anyway , so when someone comes around that will help they get them. Let's wait and see what happened first!

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Mar 28, 2011

    How about we let him have a fair trial and be convicted prior to condeming him? He is innocent until proven guilty. I don't care if he is a Baptist minister of a Muslim terrorist, he is innocent until proven otherwise. In case some of you have forgotten, thats the way our system works.

  • wakeforest914 Mar 28, 2011

    sure seems like there are a lot of perverts hiding behind the 'church'

  • CarolinaGirlRJA Mar 28, 2011

    For anybody who wants to jump to conclusions -- there isn't nearly enough information given to even speculate as to what, when, where and how something may have happened with this pastor.

  • mdwrfw Mar 28, 2011

    I have decided that cases like this should not be reported on with blazing headlines like WRAL loves to do. It doesn't matter if this man is innocent,his life is ruined.If he is guilty.....then he should be punished by the judicial system, not the media.Nursing home residents are easy prey, but elderly people can be easily confused and misinterpret actions.We need to protect the vulnerable (young and old )without casting blame recklessly.

  • hunter38 Mar 28, 2011

    never trust a preacher

  • Shelley Cooper Mar 28, 2011

    he'll be tried and convicted by the kangaroo court of the golo miscreants who have nothing better than to insert themselves into everything

    unless they're watching the brad cooper trial

  • puggybelle Mar 28, 2011

    This story isn't funny and I'm surprised by all the flippant remarks. Nursing home residents are in a position to be victimized for any number of reasons.

    They may be legally blind, deaf, unable to walk, bed-ridden, etc. Many of them are physically incapable of stopping someone from touching them. Anyone who does this kind of thing is no different than the pedophile who preys on children. They go after the weak and the defenseless. If this were your mom or grandmother being abused, perhaps some of you would feel a little differently.

    Let's hope that the police have some good, solid evidence to support this charge, otherwise....they've ruined this man's reputation for life.

  • jurydoc Mar 28, 2011

    Wow, what a different response to this article from the Golo crowd! Usually folks are jumping all over those accused, not only of sex crimes, but virtually all crimes, and ready to execute at the mere mention of "sex crime." Wondering what makes the responses in this instance so very different?? Hmmmmmm. Now what could it be???

  • anneonymousone Mar 28, 2011

    While there's not much about the charges here, I think it's necessary to report arrests, even if the person is later found to be innocent. Otherwise, we will have thousands of "disappeared" people, as in Chile during the Pinochet regime.

    I also think that if someone's innocence is established, that should get as much media attention as his or her arrest, in order to stave off as much life-damaging ill will as possible.

    Rape and other types of sexual abuse are not predicated on attraction, but on domination, humiliation, and a thorough disregard for the other person. To joke about the appearance of a victim or survivor --- regardless of her or his age --- is crass.