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5 Things to Know: Local Pastor Facing New Child Sex Crime Charges

...and four more stories from July 30-Aug. 5, 2023

A mugshot of a middle-aged white man charged with child sex crimes
Robert Price was arrested on charges of 14 child sex crimes allegedly committed between 2001-’11. (Photo courtesy MCSO)

Local Pastor Facing New Child Sex Crimes

A previously convicted sex offender working as an associate pastor at Camino Church in University City was arrested Friday on new charges of child sex crimes that occurred between 2001-’11.

CMPD’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Team arrested 56-year-old Robert “Bobby” Price on Friday morning without incident. His new charges include 13 counts of indecent liberties with a child and one count of statutory sexual offense from incidents involving juveniles who were between the ages of 9–15 years old at the time.

Previously, Price was charged with five counts of indecent liberties with a child in Mecklenburg County and several other child sex crime charges in Cabarrus County in 2013 from incidents involving three juveniles that took place from 2000–’06. In August 2014, Price was convicted of two counts of indecent liberties with a child and was sentenced to 16 months in jail. He served all 16 months and was released in December of 2015.

Price was the pastor at since-closed King’s Way Baptist Church in Concord when he was arrested the first time. He is the brother of Rusty Price, founder and lead pastor at Camino Church, which celebrated 25 years of service in 2021.

Rusty posted a two-minute video statement to his congregation on Friday acknowledging his brother’s arrest, insisting there have been no allegations of child sex crimes at Camino Church and pointing out that he has not tried to cover up his brother’s disturbing history.

Camino Charlotte
Camino Church unveiled this mural in 2021 to celebrate its 25th anniversary. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

In 2018, Camino faced criticism for allowing Bobby to preach at the Camino pulpit as a registered sex offender. At the time, Rusty told WSOC that Bobby was not on staff at Camino, though he admitted that he was not the only sex offender in the congregation. Rusty said then that church policy stated children were off-limits to convicted sex offenders and ushers had to accompany those who are on the registry to the bathroom.

Investigators have given no reason to believe that any new crimes have occurred at Camino Church since Bobby’s release from prison, though they emphasize that they will pursue any and all allegations regardless of when they occurred. They ask that any victims of Bobby Price or anyone with a tip on a case involving him call 704-336-7495 and ask for Detective Carey.

Krista Terrell Resigns as ASC President

Arts & Science Council (ASC) President Krista Terrell announced her resignation this week, stating that she will leave the organization before the end of the year after 21 years at the organization, with two years as president.

Terrell assumed ASC’s presidency at an embattled time for the organization — first taking over as acting president in January 2021 and then as president three months later — when the city had just begun exploring options to directly fund arts in Charlotte rather than funneling money through ASC.

At the time, ASC acted as an intermediary between the city and artists/arts organizations as the city’s “designated Office of Cultural Resources.” The ASC was funded by both the public and private sector, including a yearly $3.2 million allotment from the city with the understanding that ASC would allocate those funds to provide an equitable arts experience through grants and fundraising efforts.

Krista Terrell (Photo courtesy of ASC)

With the creation of a new Arts & Culture Policy Framework, the city now has more control over how arts funding is allocated, making ASC a partner with Mecklenburg County, the city’s Arts & Culture Advisory Board and the county’s six suburban towns — as well as serving as an advocacy organization for equity in local arts.

ASC also continues to allocate grant funding to local artists. The organization recently awarded six local creatives with $50,000 Founders Grants, the largest awards to individuals from ASC in the organization’s 65-year history. The organization invested more than $1.7 million in regional artists in Fiscal Year 22.

“It has truly been a pleasure and highlight of my career to work for ASC,” Terrell wrote in a statement on Thursday. “I am extremely proud of the work that has been accomplished under my leadership. We have granted more dollars to creative individuals in the history of the organization, put teaching artists to work in Pre-K-12 schools while continuing to listen and respond to the needs and desires of Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents.

“We have invested in cultural organizations of all sizes in an equitable way, reaffirmed and institutionalized our commitment to cultural equity through our work and kept the organization’s promise to the community to annually report on ASC’s equity journey,” she continued. “This is the work of ASC. I am grateful to have led ASC’s team in pushing our work forward and to ASC’s board for trusting me to lead the organization.”

Patron Poisoned by Bad Oysters in NoDa

Mecklenburg County Public Health on Monday asked that customers be more vigilant in checking for inspection certificates after someone recently came down with vibriosis due to eating bad oysters at Fairweather, a cocktail bar and sister concept to neighbor Idlewild in NoDa.

Fairweather is a non-regulated bar, meaning it serves only a limited food menu and therefore is not required to undergo regular inspections by Public Health’s Environmental Health inspectors.

“I want to make the public aware that health inspectors cannot require inspection of nonregulated bars,” said Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Dr. Raynard Washington in a release on Monday. “If you are a customer, be proactive, look for the inspection certificate, or ask the staff. The occurrence of a food-borne illness is rare, in large part due to the regulation of food establishments. But environmental health inspections do not have universal access and authority to every establishment that serves food.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vibriosis is an illness often caused by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters. Vibrio bacteria naturally live in certain coastal waters and are present in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmer. The illness is usually mild, akin to food poisoning, and passes after about three days, though a Vibrio vulnificus infection can be far more serious, leading to serious illness and sometimes limb amputation or death.

Local Home Sales Reach Record Low

Mecklenburg home sales reached a record low for the month of June, with only 1,545 homes sold in the month, according to the county’s monthly home sales report, a 23.6% decline as compared to last year. That is at least the second June in a row to see a record low number of sales.

Pending sales also experienced a downturn of 15.1% for the month, with 1,423 sales recorded this year in contrast to the 1,677 sales in June 2022. Median home price in Mecklenburg County pushed $6,000 higher in June as compared to May, while the average home price declined by $9,781.

New listings year-over-year were down 33.2% with 1,695 properties up for sale compared to 2,538
properties up for sale over the same period last year. The inventory of available homes for sale in
June is down 29.6% year-over-year with 1,480 homes for sale.

Dan Bishop to Run for Attorney General

Election denier and U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop announced Thursday that he is running for NC Attorney General, joining Democrats Charles Ingram and Tim Dunn and Republican Tom Murry in the race for Josh Stein’s empty seat.

Dan Bishop, mouth agape, with Donald Trump onstage at a rally in Fayetteville in 2019
Dan Bishop (mouth agape) with Donald Trump onstage at a rally in Fayetteville in 2019. (Photo by Jackson A. Lanier)

A statement from North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Anderson Clayton read as follows: “Dan Bishop authored the discriminatory and destructive anti-trans bathroom bill, voted against the certification of the 2020 election, and is now running for Attorney General of North Carolina. His track record of going after the most vulnerable communities, and amplifying conspiracy theories, shows that he is unfit for office. With so much at stake in 2024, and democracy itself on the line, North Carolinians cannot afford to have Dan Bishop serving as our state’s chief law enforcement officer.”

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