Massey posts bond; hires lawyer
By LANCE MARTIN
ROANOKE RAPIDS – A local funeral director arrested earlier this week on charges of alleged sex offenses with a minor has posted bond.
Roanoke Rapids attorney Gilbert Chichester and his law partner Geoffrey Davis will be representing Harold Massey as his case goes through the court system.
Massey, age 62, was charged Tuesday on numerous counts of sex offenses purportedly committed against a minor over the course of six years. Those charges include 50 counts of indecent liberties with a minor child and 31 counts of statutory sex offense, according to Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp. Bond was set at $250,000 upon his arrest.
Massey, a native of Northampton County, owns and operates funeral homes in Aulander, Jackson and Roanoke Rapids. He is also a local promoter of gospel music events, as well as being a gospel music recording artist.
“As one of Mr. Massey’s attorneys, I would like to state on his behalf that there are two fundamental cornerstones in the North Carolina and United States Constitution as they apply to criminal law,” Chichester stated on Wednesday evening.
The first, Chichester said, “is that criminal charges are no evidence of guilt and the second is that everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Those rights were written for every citizen of North Carolina and the United States and certainly apply to Mr. Harold Massey.”
Said Chichester: “Mr. Massey is a good and decent person who has lived an honorable life. His friends will understand this and his enemies will probably rejoice in his current situation.”
He said himself and Davis “fully intend to vigorously defend Mr. Massey on each and every charge that has been wrongfully filed against him.”
Asked whether he could shed any light on the charges filed against his client, Chichester said, “At this point we are starting to conduct our own investigation and it is too early for me to be able to comment on that. Law enforcement has apparently been investigating for quite some time and we are in the early stages of our investigation.”
Chichester said an arraignment date, which is largely decided by the district attorney’s office, has not been set.
Chichester and Davis were hired by Massey on Tuesday evening.
The alleged victim is a male juvenile who was 7 at the time the offenses reportedly began and 13 when they ended.
On Tuesday evening, Sheriff Tripp declined to immediately comment on the relationship between the victim and alleged suspect.
“We received this alleged complaint and have been investigating it for some time,” he stated.
Tripp also declined comment on why the allegations against Massey have just recently came to light.
The sheriff said, without elaboration, the alleged offenses were committed at a location in Halifax County.
Massey is scheduled to make his initial appearance in Halifax County District Court on Feb. 15.
(Lance Martin is the Editor and Publisher of www.rrspin.com. Permission was obtained to publish this story.)