SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - A former youth pastor at a church in Kannapolis who was charged with sex crimes last week involving young girls, is now facing new charges, according to Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten.
Benjamin Ross Hollifield, 25, has now been charged with one charge of first degree sexual exploitation of a minor. According to the arrest warrant the charge says Hollifield "did encourage and facilitate a minor, 13 years of age, to engage in sexual activity," and to submit "a photo" of the victim.
The new charge added $10,000 to the $1,000,000 bond.
Hollifield, 25, of 1040 Buck Board Lane, Salisbury, was arrested on Friday night, April 17, and booked into the Rowan County Detention Center just after 10 p.m. on charges of taking indecent liberties with children and statutory rape/sex offense with a person aged 13, 14, or 15 by a person at least six years older.
Piedmont Baptist Church in Kannapolis released a statement Saturday on their website saying Hollifield was fired and that "The one known victim and their family are valued members of our church, and we are praying for and ministering to them during this difficult time. We would ask that you please respect their privacy."
PBC went on to say that they screen anyone who works with children and "Piedmont Baptist Church reports all matters of potential child abuse to the authorities, as was done in this case by our senior pastor."
The alleged incidents reportedly happened between February 15 and March 8.
The church says they are working with authorities and ended their statement by saying, "We believe that transparency, child safety, and accountability are essential for successful ministry, and we are fully committed to ministering to our entire community in a safe and responsible manner."