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Thursday, October 27, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

Pastor Arrested for Failing to Register as Sex Offender

A pastor spent 2 hours in jail for failing to register as a sex offender in West Virginia

Story by Kimberly Beary

A man who refers to himself as Bishop faces one to five years in jail, if he is found guilty, for failing to register as a sex offender in West Virginia.

West Virginia State Trooper Brian Morris investigated a tip that Ranson Parris, 63 years old, was living in the former town of Jefferson for the past two months. "He was running a church in Jefferson. He claimed to be a bishop, to be a pillar of the community. He is a sex offender," Morris said. By law, sex offenders must register within thirty days of moving to the Mountain State.

The New Hope Metropolitan Community Church and Christian Center along MacCorkle Avenue posts signs of upcoming fundraisers for the homeless and gospel sings. Parris declined to comment when 13 News asked to speak with him regarding the charges.

Neighbors never saw a Sunday service at the church. Fresh Seafood Company Market and Restaurant owner, Tim Cerullo said he was surprised by the charges. "Someone who was supposed to be a preacher and doing that thing, so apparently the whole thing was just false," he said.

Trooper Morris says Parris was convicted of a sex crime with a minor in California. Parris did register as a sex offender in Florida but gave a Roanoke, Virginia address.The 63 year old man has a long rap sheet that spans several states and includes sixteen aliases, said Morris.

Parris spent two hours in jail before posting five hundred dollars bond. The felony charge of failing to register as a convicted sex offender carries a penalty of one to five years. Parris' preliminary hearing is set for November 4th.