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Former church leader takes plea deal over sex offense

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer
A former Cherryville church leader pleaded guilty to second-degree kidnapping Wednesday morning in a Lincoln County Superior courtroom, Clerk of Court officials said.
Brandon James Carter of Lincolnton will spend 22 to 36 months behind bars for a sex-related incident involving a 13-year-old girl at a Lincoln County residence in 2004, deputies said.
Originally charged with one count each of indecent liberties with a minor and statutory rape/sex offense of a 13-, 14- or 15-year-old by a defendant six years older, Carter pleaded guilty Wednesday to the indecent liberties charge along with second-degree kidnapping while the rape charge was dropped as part of the plea deal, clerk officials told the Times-News.
Following Carter’s release from prison, he will undergo 30 months of supervised probation and expected to enroll in a sex offender treatment program, clerk officials said. He will also have to register as a sex offender.
Carter once worked as the music director at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Cherryville, deputies said. However, a church employee has told the Times-News that he didn’t yet work at the church at the time the 2004 incident, and had resigned from the the position in 2011, prior to his March 2012 arrest, but remains a member.

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