After a pastor in North Carolina convinced six brothers to confess, they along with their parents were charged last month for sexually abusing their sister for over 10 years. Eric Tilley, sheriff of Perquimans County, said that the brothers, Eric (27), Jon (25), Matthew (23), Nathaniel (21), Benjamin (19) and Aaron (19), were arrested beginning May after being charged for crimes related to raping their own sister since she was only four-years-old and until she turned 15.
During the decade-long abuse, the brothers reportedly lived with their Christian parents, 65-year-old John and 54-year-old Nita, who too were arrested on May 5 for felony child neglect.
According to Tilley, the investigation started in December 2012 after one of the brothers spoke with his pastor, who then convinced him to confess his crime to the sheriff’s office.
“That ultimately got the first suspect to come see us,” Tilley said about the pastor’s role in the case. “That’s how the case started.”
Church elder Dan Horn, who serves at Hope Baptist Church, has known the six brothers for over five years. He said that in the start of 2012, Eric approached him to talk about something grave concerning his family. While he refused to share any detail at that point, Eric revisited Horn in December that year to confess his assaults on the victim.
“He really wanted the things in the family to be healed, because the family had problems,” Horn said.
Horn went on to tell Eric that he would find support in the church if he confessed to the concerned authorities.
“He needs to confess his sin and make restitution in ways that he can. One of the ways that he could, was to go confess to the authorities so that the things that were happening in his house could be stopped,” said Horn.
Horn said that he met with Eric twice about his assaults. Calling the sheriff’s office immediately after the first meeting, as a law-abiding citizen and despite serving as a pastor at the local church, Horn informed Eric about his action during the second meeting, after which both of them drove to Tilley, where Eric confessed his crime. Tilley said that it was not long before two other brothers visited his office to confess their respective crimes. During the confession, one of the brothers told detectives that his mother had witnessed the abuse on at least one occasion but chose to walk away from the scene. Tilley said that his office felt compelled to arrest the parents, because as responsible adults, they had failed to take necessary action and stop the sexual abuse being inflicted upon their own daughter, who is now 16-years-old. While John and Nita cooperated with their own arrests, after three of their sons had already done so, they refused to reveal any information about the sexual abuse that had taken place in their house and under their watch.
“The family pretty much kept to themselves,” said neighbor Bette Butler. “When they first moved here, we did have them to dinner a couple times. They seemed like a very normal people.”
Tilley said that the family’s home is located on the secluded Chapanoke Road, where the six boys happened to be home-schooled.
Both John and Nita managed to bond themselves out of jail with $15,000 each, for a brief while, until investigators spoke to their daughter. Their sons however, continued to be held at a jail in Albemarle District until they were taken to court recently, where their sentences were handed down. Each of the brothers could have bonded himself out of jail with $200,000 earlier.
As their respective sentences were handed down on May 14, Eric and Matthew tearfully apologized to their sister and begged her for forgiveness but she said that they would have to seek redemption from God. She thanked Eric however, for stepping forward and confessing his crime.
She now lives in Colorado with other relatives.
Photo Credits: India Today