RAEFORD — A Shannon man who was charged Monday with molesting two children from the Hoke County church where he worked had been accused of sexual assault before.
Vinson Henderson, 43, of 16 Les Norman Road in Shannon, was arrested on Nov. 8, 2009, and charged with assault on a female and sexual battery of a 12-year-old family member, according to records at the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office. The victim was related to Henderson through marriage, according to Lt. Kathy Torre.
Henderson was found not guilty of the two misdemeanor charges on Nov. 23, 2009, in District Court .
He was arrested on Monday by Hoke County sheriff’s detectives and charged with two felony counts of taking indecent liberties with a child and two counts of sexual battery.
According to a statement from the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office, a female told deputies on Nov. 30 that Henderson had been molesting her for approximately two years. The investigation led detectives to a second alleged victim, who, according to sheriff’s Capt. John Kivett, did not have a prolonged relationship with Henderson, but was molested at least one time.
Because of their ages, the names of the victims could not be released, but Kivett said the girls were both under the age of 16.
Henderson is a superintendent at Mount Elim Baptist Church in Red Springs, Kivett said. Henderson’s duties included coordinating activities for youths.
The Fayetteville Observer reported Thursday that Henderson was released from jail Tuesday after the church posted his $100,000 bond. Michael Dial, the church’s treasurer, called The Robesonian and said the church did not pay his bond.
“The church did not have anything to do with posting the bond,” Dial told The Robesonian Thursday. “What individual church members did, I can’t say.”
Calls to the church were not returned.
A 20-year member of the church called The Robesonian and said that at least six members went to the Hoke County Magistrate’s Office to bail Henderson out of jail.
“These are long-standing members of the church,” said the man, who spoke on the condition his name not be used. “They hold positions in the church. They were there representing the church and they made that known.”
The man said that the church was aware of Henderson’s previous charges. Henderson, along with being a superintendent, also does construction work for the church, including work on the church’s new multi-million-dollar sanctuary.
“They had no business getting involved with this creep,” he said. “Now they are doing damage control.”
The longtime member said that the church’s membership with the Southern Baptist Conference, which brings a lot of national recognition, is now in jeopardy.
“Right now the church is spilt right down the middle,” he said. “I’m absolutely disgusted. I will go to church Sunday and if they’ve got him there bouncing around like the King of England, it will get ugly. I will not handle it.”
— Reach staff writer Ali Rockett at 910-272-6127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.