04/20/07 — Warsaw preacher will answer sex charges

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Warsaw preacher will answer sex charges

By Lee Williams
Published in News on April 20, 2007 2:05 PM

A 57-year-old pastor accused of fathering a child with a 12-year-old girl could spend a maximum of 32 years in prison for his alleged involvement with the youth, a Duplin County judge decided this week.

Thomas Lindal Robinson of Clinton was convicted Wednesday on two counts of first-degree rape of a child and indecent liberties with a child, Duplin County District Attorney G. Dewey Hudson said today.

A Duplin County Jury convicted Robinson, pastor of New Life Christian Church in Warsaw, on all counts, officials said.

Superior Court Judge W. Allen Cobb sentenced Robinson to serve two consecutive sentences of a minimum of 156 months to a maximum of 197 months in prison for the infractions.

The charges stemmed from allegations Robinson had sexual relations with the 12-year-old girl from 2004 until October 2005, officials said.

"The victim testified that she engaged in intercourse with the defendant and that the defendant performed other sexual acts," Hudson said. "The state introduced evidence that DNA indicated that there was a 99.99 percent probability that the defendant was the father of a baby conceived from this relationship. The baby subsequently died from natural causes."

Duplin County jurors deliberated for less than two hours before returning a guilty verdict against Robinson on all counts.

Robinson was represented by Attorney Reginald Kenan of Warsaw. The state was represented by Duplin County Assistant District Attorney J.B. Askins, Hudson said.

Hudson lauded the jury's decision.

"I hope this sentence sends a strong message to people who prey on young children that this criminal behavior will not be tolerated," he said. "I would like to thank the jurors for their verdict."

An adult who engages in a sex act with a person under 16 years old is illegal in North Carolina. A person under 16 years of age cannot consent to a sex act with an adult under the eyes of the law, officials say.

Robinson is being held at the Duplin County Jail, Hudson said. He could be shipped to prison as early as today.