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Really? Raleigh News ‘Reports’ on Pastor’s Sexual Misconduct with Child By Proclaiming His Innocence

This weekend, Dalvis Steve Conerly was arrested in North Carolina for two counts of sexual misconduct with a 12-year-old girl. The pastor of New Beginnings Fellowship, police say that Conerly knew the girl, but was not in a position of trust or authority over the girl at the time of the alleged incidents.

Yet, while much has not been revealed about the case, several Raleigh media outlets managed to stick to the facts when reporting Conerly’s Saturday arrest, noting Conerly was currently being held in lieu of $50,000 bail and that the police warrant only stated that he “did take and attempted to take indecent liberties,” the legalese for acts that are deemed “for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.”

Local station WRAL, however, took a different tack when covering the pastor’s alleged sexual abuse of a minor, choosing publish a quote calling the child-victim  a liar and focusing their reporting on a proclamation of the pastor’s innocence by a friend over the potential consequences of the misdeed.

“The charges just don’t sound right to musician Bruce James,” the story begins. James, who played the music at the pastor’s home-based church, is then quoted as denying that it is even possible that Conerly would do such a thing.

“It is definitely not in the realm of belief,” James said according to WRAL’s account. “They were good people.”

After listing a few facts about Conerly easily found via a Google search, as well as mentioning that Conerly and the girl “knew each other,” WRAL’s story then returns to James’ testimony and his claims this is all “a huge mistake.”

“He is the same type of person he is away from the pulpit as he is behind the pulpit,” James said.

The article concludes by quoting James, who once again states his friend is innocent and  blames the child-victim for making the whole thing up. “I think we have all had that happen to us at some point or another in their life. Someone tries to make us look like something we are not.”

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.