Documents detail minister’s arrest

Published 10:06 am Thursday, June 26, 2014

By Lance Martin

ROANOKE RAPIDS – Documents filed in the Halifax County Clerk of Court’s Office further explain the indecent liberties with a child count lodged against a local minister and also suggest a possible obstruction of justice in the case.

William Meinsen

William Meinsen

According to the arrest warrant for William Meinsen, Lieutenant Joseph Sealey of the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office found probable cause that the minister of New Life Church of Christ in Roanoke Rapids “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did take and attempt to take immoral, improper and indecent liberties” with the victim in the case — a girl who was under the age of 16.

The arrest warrant continues that Meinsen, 47, of Roanoke Rapids, allegedly did so “for the purpose of arousing and gratifying sexual desire. All the time the defendant was over 16 years of age and at least five years older than the child.

Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp said Wednesday morning the alleged offense involved inappropriate conduct in inappropriate settings.

There is no indication, he said, that the reputed offense occurred at church, which is located on East Tenth Street.

Asked whether the matter was consensual, the sheriff said, “Whether consensual or not, it’s still against the law.”

The alleged offense took place on January 29.

Meinsen was released from custody Tuesday evening on $2,500 bond, which was posted by an individual.

Tripp said the case remains under investigation.

According to two search warrants applied for by Sealey, the lieutenant for investigations wrote there is probable cause to believe that information related to crimes of indecent liberties with a minor and obstruction of justice are located in text message contact sent from and received through the victim’s phone as well as her stepmother’s phone.

The search warrant was applied for on March 10 after the sheriff’s office received a complaint from the parents of the victim alleging sexual contact between her and Meinsen, who in the search warrant application was described as her preacher as well as high school teacher.

The parents, according to the search warrant application, noted that Meinsen and the victim spoke frequently through text messaging.

The victim, according to the warrant, advised her parents that Meinsen was texting her, wanting to know why law enforcement was at her residence. The stepmother had also been receiving text messages from the minister in which “he was advising her what to say regarding the incident if the mother should ask or make a scene.”

Wrote Sealey in the search warrant application, “He also stated in text messages that he would be deleting all text message conversations. The affiant has probable cause to believe that the incident was discussed between the defendant as well as her stepmother.”

For those reasons, Sealey requested that all text messages be seized from U.S. Cellular from the victim’s phone as well as her stepmother’s from the present to as far back as possible.

“Based on the search warrant, we obtained evidence supporting the allegations,” Tripp said on Wednesday.

Tripp added that both he and Halifax County District Attorney Melissa Pelfrey reviewed the case file and agreed there was probable cause to proceed with the charge lodged against the minister.

(Lance Martin is Editor and Publisher of This story and photo are reprinted with his permission.)