Warrant: Ex-pastor devised scheme against girl’s parents

Associated Press [New York NY]

October 8, 2021

A former pastor in North Carolina gave a false report of child abuse to a sheriff’s office and tried to get them to sign over parental rights for their teenage daughter who he is accused of sexually assaulting, authorities said.

Warrants issued for Trent Brandon Holbert, 41, detailed the events that led to his being charged by the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, indecent liberties with a child and two counts of felony statutory sex offense with a child under 15, the Asheville Citizen Times reported.

When Holbert reported the parents to the N.C. Division of Social Services with allegations of neglect, the claims were found not to be true, according to the warrants.

Investigators began working the case on May 17 when the victim’s parents contacted deputies about their child “engaging in a secret and sexual relationship with their former pastor,” according to a sheriff’s office search warrant dated May 18.

The search warrants also said Holbert asked the victim’s parents to sign a waiver giving him parental rights in the event of their deaths. The parents refused and said the request bothered them.

Neither Holbert nor his attorney responded to the newspaper’s request for comment.