Baptist camp director on leave after arrest
    July 16 2009 by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press

    HERTFORD — A Baptist association in North Carolina is standing by a camp director indicted July 13 on two counts of engaging in sexual activities with a child.

    Police arrested Stephen Wayne Carter, director of Cale Retreat and Conference Center in Hertford July 1 on charges of taking indecent liberties with a child and first-degree sex offense involving a child. He was released from jail on $80,000 bond.

    Carter, 50, has directed the Christian camp operated by Chowan Baptist Association since 2002. Rob Roberts, association missionary, said Carter remains employed as camp director but has voluntarily left the camp until the matter is resolved. The association is a group of mostly rural Baptist churches in the northeastern part of the state.

    “Chowan Baptist Association stands firmly behind Steve and we are confident of his innocence,” Roberts wrote in an e-mail to the Perquimans Weekly newspaper shortly after the arrest. “Steve remains away from the Cale Retreat and Conference Center campus but continues to receive full salary and benefits. Our hearts go out to Steve and his family during this very difficult time. We are praying for everyone connected with this situation.”

    Steve Carter and wife, as pictured on camp web site.

    Carter, who recently celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary, told a local television station the allegations against him are untrue.  

    Neither Carter nor Roberts responded to e-mails requesting additional comment. Carter is still listed as Cale’s director on the association’s website. Roberts told local media that Baptist leaders were cooperating with police.

    According to the camp web site, Carter and his wife, Grayce, who works as assistant director, are former missionaries who worked as church planters in Central America.

    Wendy Norvelle, associate vice president for mobilization at the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, said Carter served from 1997 to 2001 in Belize through a short-term mission program called International Service Corps.  

    Norvelle said the IMB has a zero-tolerance policy regarding child sexual abuse, and that leaders began the process of notifying children and parents who may have had contact with Carter when they read a newspaper report about his indictment July 13. She added that local Baptist leaders would also be notified so they could follow up with children.

    Norvelle said all IMB personnel, including volunteers, are required to complete training in both prevention and detection of child sexual abuse. Background checks and references are also required. She said the board also maintains a 24-hour hotline that anyone can use to report any allegation of child abuse involving IMB personnel.

    “Prior to July 14, 2009, IMB leadership was not aware of any allegation of child sexual abuse by Mr. Carter either prior to, during, or after his service with IMB,” she said.

    According to media reports, Carter is not being allowed to enter the Camp Cale property or have contact with any child under 18 except his own. The Carters have a 20-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old son.

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.)

    7/16/2009 11:57:00 AM by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press | with 11 comments

Gene Scarborough
One of our best web sites on Baptist predation is

Yep--our story is there. The hurts, by the dozen are there. It is a tragic compilation of the "sneaky snakes" who occupy the position of "ordained minister." The fact the SBC has ignored Christa Brown's request that they take this matter seriously speaks for itself and does not help matters.

I have been, and still am, a supporter of this group. At the same time, I have warned them and Christa their spotlight may be premature in this situation. I hope they will remove it until more facts come to light.

If they don't, I hope it will get just as much coverage for a positive outcome as for the negative "charges" informtion. Steve deserves our prayers and personal hugs at this point, in my opinion. I am "presuming him innocent until proven guilty."

Had the SBC been more sensitive to such matters, Christa would not be as aggressive. Her anger and motivation are sincere and "rightious" to the best of my knowledge. More times than not, her reports are right on target and tell a sad story which needs to be heard.

Even though the SBC won't act, why can't the NCBSC invite her to be heard and make some official action to undergird her effort? I think we are more compassionate! After all, we are quick to kick out those who even utteer the word "homosexual." By comparison, that issue pales to child preditors.

Where are our priorities??? What is the problem??? Maybe we are like the Pogo statement: "We have met the enemy---and it is us!"
7/22/2009 10:55:57 PM

Dr. James Willingham
The legal assumption of innocent until proven guilty is one of the great things about our judicial system. We pray that the charges, if groundless, shall be prove so as it is so necessary to one who has been the recipient of them t have his name cleared. The IMB might have acted in haste in ths case; it could have waited until the matter has been resolved. As one who secured an M.A. and wrote a paper on incest and pedaphilia and then had the responsibility of handling such cases in a senior high school, I can say that the matter is serious. Sexual abuse of a child is a felony; it is serious business and in NC th law imposes a fine upon all who do not report such cases. Speaking from what I learned and observed, I can say that the devestation to the personality, well-being, and future performance of that child can hardly be believed. I am aware also that false accusations can and have been made which are devestating to those so charged. Our prayers are for all concerned.
7/21/2009 4:21:25 PM

Brent Hobbs
Norm, Thanks for your work and your words about Steve, anticipating a positive outcome. I certainly hope for all involved the charges are false and shown to be so.
7/20/2009 4:24:15 PM

I just talked to Rob Roberts (Monday a.m.) and he said he did not receive an email inquiry from Associated Baptist Press. Rob cannot go into details about the situation, but I appreciate his Christian commitment to redemption and his professional commitment to neutrality at this point. Encouragingly, he said summer camp sessions continue at Camp Cale, under the direction of Grayce Carter and 50 young people have prayed to receive Christ. Steve has recruited and trained an outstanding summer staff.
7/20/2009 12:10:22 PM

Ron Cava
Gene, I couldn't agree more that Baptists need to get real in our thinking about the problem of child abuse and we need to take every conceivable measure to protect our children. I can think of few things more devastating to a child and his/her family that to be victimized by perversion. If guilt can be substantiated in this case then justice must prevail.

But that doesn't change the fact that we need to fervently pray for proof of innocence. Not only is the reputation of one man at stake, but the integrity of the Chowan Association's valiant efforts to build a great camp in northeastern NC is in peril. Our Baptist family in that strategic area of NC needs our support and prayers. The association is filled with good and Godly people who do not deserve this drama.

I have grieved ever since reading this story -- for everyone involved. The accused and the accusers all are in a terrible place in life.
7/20/2009 8:51:20 AM

Gene Scarborough
I just had an enlightening conversation with my lawyer neighbor relative to what happens in a case like this. A good criminal lawyer recognizes these charges, if proven, are just one step below a capital offence. There could be some serious jail time involved.

If ANY charges are upheld the least harsh outcome is to have to register as a sex offender wherever one resides. Failure to do so will result in serious jail time.

In an SBC which has refused to honor the requests of Christa Brown at, we need to rethink our "ostrich-with-head-in-sand" approach to this problem. By NOT doing anything and pretending nothing can be done, all Baptist clergy are even more suspect in a world of child predation. It behooves any church to act quickly if any suspicions arise to investigate for truth and request the ordaining church / association withdraw the ordination if an ordained minister is found guilty.

We are, just like Roman Catholics, sometimes so "far" from sexual temptation on the surface that Satan is using inward temptation to a greater advantage than with people who admit they are sometimes tempted to be immoral. When any preaching focuses too much and too often on temptation in the sexual area, it is usually an indicator there is more than usual temptation going on within that individual.

I shall never forget my college-age presence at an Ordination Council for a young man in the Atlanta Association. All the members of that Council were 50 or more. They quizzed the candidate on theology and bible outlook, BUT about 60% of their time was spent imparting their elder wisdom about the importance of remaining circumspect with church members of the opposite sex. They would not have shared this, had it not been critical to the young man.

My daddy used to say, "Son, you can't stop a bird from flying over your head, BUT you can surely stop him from nesting there!" He was wise and pointed: temptation is always flying over our heads as humans, but, with God's help and that of fellow Christians, we don't have to let nests be built which can destroy our integrity.
7/19/2009 9:18:45 AM

Ron Cava
I, like Stephen Loftis, was in Chowan Association when Steve and Grayce came to Camp Cale. I agree that this sounds completely out of character. Steve is a deeply spiritual and highly committed christian gentleman. I do hope that he will be cleared of any wrong. The Carter's have done magnificent work at Camp Cale. They are in my prayers.

Our children are precious and I know such accusations as these must be investigated. But I trust that Christians everywhere will pray for the truth to be revealed and, whatever the outcome, for God's grace to prevail.
7/18/2009 10:53:36 AM

Gene Scarborough
"Rightous" people almost enjoy the supposed failures of others. Look at the parable of the Prodigal Son. He is usually the focus to the neglect of his arrogant Elder Brother.

The Elder Brother actually enjoyed looking down his nose at his failed sibling. It is the saddest thing to the loving Father to see a child enjoy the problems of his brother.

The Father was a hero. The failed Prodigal was redeemed. The Elder Brother was a disgrace to the whole process.

A caring follower of Christ would always avoid the attitude of the Elder Brother.

7/17/2009 8:02:45 PM

Stephen E Loftis
Having been an active member of the Leadership Team in Chowan Assoc when Steve was hired, I was absolutely shocked to hear of the accusations. These seem so out of character for the man I knew/know. It is sad that the IMB leaders "began the process of notifying children and parents who may have had contact with Carter when they read a newspaper report". Such action leads one to believe that the IMB appears to have taken a "Guilty until proven otherwise" stance in this matter.
7/17/2009 10:33:22 AM

I guarantee a positive outcome for Cale and for Steve will be trumpeted here. Thank you for reminding us all that innocence is to be assumed.
7/17/2009 9:43:53 AM

Gene Scarborough
Remember: Under our legal system a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Never jump to conclusions. Time will answer all questions and truth will come to the surface.

No matter what the outcome, God knows the truth and the truth will set us free.

My next door neighbor is one of Eastern NC's premier criminal attorneys. Some months ago I had a conversation with a lady who was falsely accused and charged with criminal activities. She was proven innocent. Her sad witness was that her "church friends" deserted her first, despite her claims of innocense.

How sad--[b][/b]her church friends deserted her first.[b][/b] Needless to say, she has no respect nor does her family for "church friends." God help us if we quickly draw conclusions long before the legal process seeks the truth!

Accusations like this hurt by themselves. If all of NC, now notified, jumps to conclusions more harm can be done than that which is already done. I hope, should he be exhonerated, there will be as much disclosure of that as there is right now with the allegations. Sadly, seldom does this happen in a world gone mad with other people's sins to the neglect of their own.
7/16/2009 8:57:39 PM

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