Wednesday, August 27, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

18-year-old tells of relationship with pastor when he was 15 to 17

An 18-year-old man testified yesterday in Forsyth Superior Court that he regularly had sex with his pastor over a three-year period, from when he was 15 to 17.

The man is the first of two people expected to testify this week that they had sex with Rodney Keith Boothe, 40, a former pastor at Greater Church of Deliverance on North Cherry Street, which also is known as Christ Cathedral Church of Deliverance. Boothe faces 42 sex-related charges.

The second person expected to testify is a 15-year-old boy whose family took in Boothe's family for a week in 2006 when the Boothes were kicked out of their home for not paying rent. The 15-year-old is expected to testify that the sex acts happened when he was 13 and 14.

The 18-year-old first met Boothe at a church in Wilmington, where the boy was living with a family member.

He moved in 2005 to Virginia, where he stayed with his grandmother. By then, Boothe had moved to the church in Winston-Salem and agreed to take him in. The boy was 15 at the time.

He said that at first he did not want Boothe to touch him.

"I didn't like it, but I just thought that if I kept on going it would stop," he said.

He said he later fell in love with Boothe. He would ask Boothe whether they were a couple. Boothe had a wife, two daughters and a son.

"When he said no, that kind of hurt because I felt in that situation that I was just being used for sex," the 18-year-old said.

The 42 charges that Boothe faces are: 12 counts of statutory sex offense with a child who is 13, 14 or 15; one count of attempted statutory sex offense; 14 counts of sexual activity by a substitute parent; one count of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor; 10 counts of indecent liberties with a child; and four counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

The 18-year-old said that many of the sexual conversations he had with Boothe were through cell-phone text messages. An aunt called Winston-Salem police after reading the text messages stored in the boy's phone. Boothe was arrested and has been in jail since June, 2007.

Prosecutors Kia Chavious and Pansy Glanton showed jurors those sexually explicit text messages yesterday, along with lewd picture messages that prosecutors say they believe that the two men exchanged.

When questioned by Paul James, who is Boothe's attorney, the 18-year-old said he agreed to stay with Boothe even though Boothe had touched him during a visit.

The trial is expected to continue into next week.

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Related link: Preacher arrested