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Minister Takes Stand in Harassment Trial

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Rev. Ed Privette
CARY — The Reverend Ed Privette had the opportunity toanswer charges of sexual harassment in court Tuesday. Some office workersat Cary's White Plains United Methodist Church have accused Privette oftouching them inappropriately.

Privette denies that he did anything wrong in his relationships withtwo secretaries and a receptionist. He admits he was affectionate with thewomen, but claims there was never any intent to go further.

The former church workers appeared to be very upset as the ministertold his side of the story. Privette responded to questions about specificinstances of harassment.

The three plaintiffs are suing the pastor for assault and battery andare asking for damages. They testified that Privette started with friendlyhugs and moved on to groping, kissing and massaging. Privette says thewomen simply didn't understand his intentions.

The pastor appeared cool and confidant, but said these accusationscould seriously damage his professional life.

Privette's accusers sat in the front row during Tuesday's proceedingsand seemed very frustrated as the minister spoke. The plaintiffs havefinished their case. The defense should be prepared to rest by Friday.

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