A Kingsport pastor is now charged with stealing more than $60,000 from his church.
Sullivan County grand jurors indicted Victory Apostolic Church Pastor Boyd Holder this week on a charge of theft over $60,000 and money laundering. Prosecutors confirmed he was arrested and bonded out of jail.
The charge comes more than three months after Kingsport police opened an investigation.
On February 6, investigators say several members of the congregation came to police with concerns over a substantial sum of money being missing from the church coffers. Congregants said the missing funds coincided with Holder’s tenure as the pastor and primary financial agent of their church.
When we contacted Holder’s attorney about the investigation back in March, Rick Spivey told us, “My client is not guilty.”
We’ve been asking questions about Holder since January, after a Kingsport police report from December involving him surfaced. After some members found out about that report, which alleged sexual activity in the church van on private property, they asked Holder to resign. Police did not file charges as a result of that report, because they found no “criminal activity.” Holder refused to resign and denied the accusations to us. Since he did not face any charges at the time, we chose not to run the story.
“I simply took the van out,” Holder said by phone back in January. “A young man requested that I would meet with him, which I did to talk about the faith. Just as soon as we had parked this police officer came up behind us and acted like all of this was going on.”
In the midst of those denials, several members, from the assistant pastor on down, left the church.
“We are family and are trying to work out what is best for the church and what is best for us,” Holder said in January. “We are a small church. There are some that have left. There are some that stand very strongly behind us.”
Former church member and Elder Mark Brown spoke candidly about the accusations and fallout back in January.
“It broke my heart, it disturbed me, emotionally tore me apart,” Brown said. “There’s been a split. That’s why there’s a handful of people that still go there and a bunch that don’t.”
Kingsport police documented another police report involving Holder in February after a dispute during a church service. A man who said he wanted to visit the church to “enjoy the service” told police the pastor told him to leave because he was not there for the “right reasons.”
“(Complainant) explained to me that Holder said that if he didn’t leave he would make him leave,” the report said. “(Complainant) stated that Holder grabbed him by his belt and attempted to lift him out of the pew.”
The man who filed the report chose not to pursue charges.
Kingsport police filed another report in March in reference to an “on-going investigation.” At the time KPD Public Information Officer Tom Patton said there wasn’t much he could release.
“Per CID, investigations of this nature are extremely time consuming and require subpoenaing and analyzing numerous records,” Patton said in March. “In short it could be weeks or months before we are able to conclude the investigation and release what if any findings result from it.”
Kingsport police said today they could not go into any details about what specifically Holder is accused of spending the church’s money on.
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