Youth pastor arrested in sting
by Doug Clark
The Sampson Independent
October 22, 2010
A local youth minister and former disc jockey has been arrested for soliciting a minor over the internet for a sexual act and attempted indecent liberties with a minor.
Thomas L. Elliott, 40, of 798 Butler Island Road, Roseboro, was arrested in an undercover internet sex sting by the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office Thursday evening.
According to Det. Tommy Sluder of the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, Elliott has been under surveillance since September.
“He has initiated chats with undercover officers,” Sluder said Friday morning. Sluder said that he was online with Elliott Thursday when the two agreed to meet.
“He once again initiated the chat,” Sluder said. “As the chat progressed, Mr. Elliott asked to meet for the purpose of a sexual act ... He believed he was talking to a 14-year-old girl.”
Sluder said that Elliott, who is a youth minister at Autryville Baptist Church in Roseboro, then drove two and a half hours from Roseboro to meet the alleged girl in Greensboro.
“We set up to meet at a movie theater,” Sluder said. However, after Elliott got lost, detectives changed the location of the meeting to an electronics store, where he was promptly arrested.
“He was shocked,” said Sluder of Elliott’s reaction when he opened his car door to see a swarm of detectives instead of the girl.
Although a call was not immediately returned from officials at Autryville Baptist Church, Elliott’s former employer Pat Dixon at WCLN Funtime Oldies in Clinton, said the news of his arrest came as a shock.
“It is out of character for him to do something like this,” Dixon said Friday. “I have nothing but good things to say about him. He is one of the finest people that I have ever met.”
Dixon said Elliott, who has a wife and child, worked at the station for close to six years as on-air talent doing an afternoon radio show, where Elliott was better known as “The Fly”.
“He quit about two years ago,” he said. “He left to get into the ministry because he really loved doing it and it was something he always wanted to do. I know he also worked another job in Fayetteville to supplement his income. I get people who still come up to me and ask what happened to his show; he was very popular here. To hear of him being arrested, is just a real shock to me.”
Elliott is being held on a $25,000 bond at Guilford County Jail. His first court appearance was Friday at 2 p.m.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See also: "Youth minister faces charges in Guilford County," Biblical Recorder, 10/25/10 (stating that Elliott was previously a youth minister at Evergreen Baptist Church)
SBP Note: Both Autryville Baptist and Evergreen Baptist are shown as churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.