• More accusers come forward after Belmont preacher charged with child sex crimes

    By: Dave Faherty , Erin Edwards

    Updated:

    GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - Three more accusers have come forward after a Gaston County preacher was charged with child sex crimes, prosecutors said. 

    Nicholas Martin, 24, was arrested Saturday after initially being accused of sex crimes with a 14-year-old girl. Now, three more people are saying Martin sexually assaulted them too.

    Martin is facing several sex charges including four counts of indecent liberties with a child.

    Channel 9's Dave Faherty was in the courtroom Monday where Martin faced a judge for the first time.

    [ALSO READ: Multiple sex crime charges filed against NC 19-year-old]

    In court, Martin's attorney asked to have his bond reduced from $1 million to $50,000 claiming Martin has no prior criminal history and lives at home with his wife.

    Faherty said just as the attorney asked for the reduction, officials not only learned of three more victims, but also that some of the alleged incidents happened in the home with Martin's wife present.

    Martin's request was quickly denied.

    (Nicholas Martin)

    "When we have allegations involving someone who is connected to the community like this person was an associate pastor, we have to act quickly," Capt Billy Dowdney with Gaston County Police said.

    Martin was a music and youth pastor at North Belmont Church of God and lived next to the church.

    Officials said he committed several crimes involving a 14-year-old victim from October 2018 until September 2019.

    Arrest warrants show he got the teen drunk before abusing her on several occasions.

    "It's such an impressionable age," neighbor Corrin Miller said. "There's nothing that can be said about that. It's a real shame for the whole community to have that so close to us."

    Neighbors who live around the church told Channel 9 they are on edge, shocked and terrified.

    "I cannot trust anybody," resident Monette Almond said. "And this is supposed to be somebody you can trust, you know. It's just mind-boggling. Now, seeing that it's just right around the corner, that gives me so much anxiety now. I don't even want her going out of the house anymore."

    Neighbors said this case is a reminder to be vigilant and report any abuse you see going on in your community.

    "You have a part to play in this," Miller said. "If you know of anybody, a family member, a loved one, you need to report it."

    It is unclear if the victims were members of the church or what their exact relationship was.

    This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

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