Local News

Sex charges dropped against Dunn pastor on technicality

Posted March 8, 2013 1:22 p.m. EST

— A judge has dismissed sexual misconduct charges against the pastor of a Harnett County church because of mistakes in how he was arrested, authorities said Friday.

Paul Burke Johnson, 76, who is pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Dunn, was arrested in March 2011 on four counts of misdemeanor sexual battery. Authorities said the charges stemmed from inappropriate contact between Johnson and a woman in a nursing home.

District Court Judge Resson Faircloth threw out the charges last month because Johnson's arrest wasn't valid under state law, authorities said.

The law requires that, because the officer didn't witness the alleged offense, a magistrate must issue an arrest warrant for misdemeanor charges before Johnson could be arrested.

Johnson was arrested without a warrant, authorities said.