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Friday, September 23, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

Minister charged with rapes

After a manhunt that spanned two states, Wilson County sheriff's detectives arrested a pastor of a Wilson church Wednesday night wanted on charges of 19 counts of statutory rape.

Sheriff's detectives along with members of the U.S. Marshal's Service's fugitive task force arrested Nathaniel Rasberry, of 9013 U.S. 301 S., Kenly, in connection with repeated sexual assaults on two women who are now 19 and 25 years old.

Reports of Rasberry's activities first came to the Sheriff's Office in August. After an investigation by Detective Denise Wilkins, which included an interview with Rasberry, warrants for his arrest were issued. When detectives went to serve the warrants, Rasberry was no where to be found, Farmer said.

Rasberry, a pastor of World Vision Outreach Center, had been on the run since August when the Wilson County Sheriff's Office issued warrants for his arrest. Those warrants include charges of child incest, parental sex offense, statutory rape, felony child abuse, assault and inflicting serious injury.

He is now in jail at the Wilson County Detention Center under a $1 million bond.

Maj. J.H. Farmer of the Wilson County Sheriff's Office said the investigation into Rasberry's activities indicates the assaults had been ongoing for several years, back to when the victims were minors.

Warrants issued for Rasberry include charges of incest of a child, parental sex offense, 19 counts of statutory rape, felony child abuse and nine counts of assault and inflicting serious injury.

Investigators believed Rasberry had absconded to New Jersey, but intelligence reports indicated he had been back to Wilson and the surrounding area from time to time. Such a tip came to investigators Wednesday morning. Rasberry, 34, and pastor of World Vision Outreach Center, 311 Herring Ave., was arrested Wednesday night in Rocky Mount. He is being held in the Wilson County Detention Center under a $1 million bond. Lt. D.W. Bailey of the Sheriff's Department said more charges will likely be filed against Rasberry today.

Sheriff's investigators also arrested Rasberry's wife, Katie. She was charged with obstructing and delaying an officer in the line of duty. She's being held under a $2,000 bond.

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