The Duplin County Sheriff's office charged 56 year old Thomas Lindell Robinson -- Pastor of New Life Christian Center -- with first degree rape of a child and taking indecent liberties with a child. The Sheriff tells Nine on Your Side the incidents happened at the Church Daycare Center where the girl spent a lot of time.
The sheriff's office can't say exactly how long the relationship has gone on, but there could be other victims. Now Pastor Robinson is in jail under a 250,000 dollar bond, but the question is how could this have gone unnoticed.
What was once a daycare full of life is now closed because of a Pastor. He's a well-known face in Duplin County. Sheriff Blake Wallace says he's a sexual predator.
"We have a gentleman who is in a position of public trust, who should be a role model for the community and he has abused that position and assaulted a young girl," Sheriff Wallace says.
The girl is 12 years old, pregnant, and due any day now. The daycare, which is run by Pastor Robinson's wife, is on the churches property. The sheriff's department says the only reason they found out this was happening was by a news tip.
"I'm not prepared to speculate on why someone didn't call our office to notify us of this," Sheriff Wallace says.
A full investigation is underway. Even though Pastor Robinson is behind bars, some people say they just can't accept the charges. "No, I knew a little girl was pregnant, but I did not think by him and I still don't believe it. I won't believe it," Jennifer Edmonds says.
Nine on Your Side tried to contact the church, but no one would comment. Sheriff Wallace tells us he's not sure how long the two were having sexual relations, but it happened more than once.
"You can rest assure that if he is released, we are going to do everything in our power to make sure the citizens of Duplin County are safe," Sheriff Wallace says.
It's still unclear whether Pastor Robinson is still affiliated with the church. Meanwhile, Sheriff Wallace tells us the daycare center at the Church is closed and because of the seriousness of the charges, they're trying to determine if other children could be involved.
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