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Former church treasurer arrested

WINDSOR – A Bertie County man made his first court appearance on Wednesday in District Court after being charged with 51 counts of embezzlement against his church.

Clarence Edward Cherry, 49, turned himself in to the Windsor Police Department on April 21. He is accused of embezzling between $76,000 and $78,000 from Zion Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, 403 Ghent Street in Windsor, during a four-year period between May 2008 and July 2012.

He had served as the church treasurer.

Cherry is charged with one count of embezzlement for each month the funds were misappropriated.

Zion Bethlehem requested an investigation into the church’s finances after suspicions of improprieties surfaced.  The church provided bank statements to investigators during the probe.

When confronted with the charges, Cherry had reportedly admitted to the misappropriation and had begun making restitution to the church, but those reimbursements had allegedly stopped.

The result of the Windsor Police investigation resulted in charges being filed against Cherry on April 15.

Cherry, a former math teacher at Bertie Middle School in Windsor, is no longer with Bertie County Schools. Elaine White, Bertie Schools Superintendent, told the R-C News-Herald on Wednesday that Cherry resigned his teaching position on Tuesday.