Pastor Accused of Battery
James Harold Carter, 74, Accused of Holding Woman down at Church

By Alan Riquelmy
May 7, 2008

The pastor of Canaan Baptist Church was arrested Monday on charges of inappropriately touching a church employee and holding her down to the floor.

James Harold Carter, 74, was taken into custody at 10 a.m. on charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment, Columbus police said. He was freed on a $10,000 bond.

The 41-year-old woman who made the claims against Carter told officers the pastor touched her and held her down April 28 in the church at 2835 Branton Wood Drive, said Police Lt. John McMichael. She told police that day, and Carter was arrested on a warrant Monday at the Public Safety Center.

Carter made bond before his 2 p.m. Tuesday Columbus Recorder's Court hearing and wasn't required to attend. A call to his church wasn't returned.

In 2002, the pastor was accused of raping a 34-year-old member of his congregation. He pleaded not guilty in Municipal Court in March 2002. The case was bound over to Muscogee County Superior Court.

The woman alleged that the rape happened during a midnight meeting with the pastor in his church. The two were chatting around 11:45 p.m., when Carter allegedly tried to kiss her, she said. Carter removed his clothes and hers, though she refused to go any further.

The woman signed a waiver of prosecution, claiming that she'd been offered more than $50,000 in exchange for dropping the charges.

In August 2002, a grand jury declined to indict Carter.



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