By Catharin Shepard •
Staff writer •
A pastor in Raeford who spent years fighting fraud allegations won the battle this month when a prosecutor dropped the charges before the case ever went to trial.
The two-and-a-half years the Rev. Dr. Lent Christopher Carr spent going to court and working with attorneys took a toll on his health and his ministerial work, Carr said.
“They destroyed my life, they destroyed my reputation. No one’s come out and apologized, nothing,” he said.
Officers with the Raeford Police Department arrested Carr in October 2017 on the now-dropped charges of writing a worthless check and uttering of a forged instrument.
Carr said at the time he was acting as property manager for a woman named Janetta Jordan, who was in prison awaiting trial on an unrelated matter. Carr attempted to use a check drawn on Jordan’s bank account to pay for back taxes owed on three properties in Hoke County.
Unknown to him, the bank account had insufficient funds and the check bounced. A few weeks later, police officers showed up at his door.
Carr is pastor of Emmaus Cathedral Church in Hoke County and senior pastor of Emmaus Greater Pentecostal Assembly. The pastor said he met Jordan when he was asked to minister to her in his role as a clergyman. From there, he agreed to work pro bono to help manage Jordan’s property while she was in prison.
From the beginning Carr pointed to documents showing Jordan had granted him power of attorney over her affairs. The “durable power of attorney” documents legally allowed Carr to handle financial matters on Jordan’s behalf. Carr told The News-Journal in November 2017 he was acting on Jordan’s instructions when he tried to pay the back taxes with her check.
The dismissal document filed June 1 in Hoke County Superior Court confirmed that prosecutors chose to drop the charges against Carr because he was acting as Jordan’s designated power of attorney agent at the time.
“Defendant was POA (power of attorney) for drawer of check,” the dismissal stated. Prosecutor Sean Kennally signed the dismissal May 29.
That question of power of attorney authority was at the heart of the matter, Carr said.
“Did I have the authority under my client to proceed as she requested that I do, and it ended up yes,” he said.
Over the two-and-a-half years of battling the allegations in court, Carr said, the prosecutor’s office offered him multiple plea agreements. The most lenient one was 12 months of unsupervised probation, he said. Carr turned it down and intended to pursue the matter all the way to trial if necessary.
“I’m never ever going to plead guilty to something I’m not guilty about, I’m not going to lie and I’m not going to lie about myself,” he said.
Now that the charges have been dropped, Carr described the experience as “nightmarish” and said he is considering pursuing legal action. The pastor, who is in his 40s, said his health suffered from the stress of the situation.
“I’m just really lost for words because I really feel that that was a malicious prosecution. All of my attorneys felt the same way,” he said.