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Former Pastor Arrested on 30 Felony Charges for Child Sex Crimes

Served churches in Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida over 4 decades

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A former Warsaw, Virginia pastor is facing 30 child sex crimes charges.

Albert Benjamin Wharton, 86, was arrested on Dec. 8 in South Carolina after a 15-month long investigation involving the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, the Richmond County Sheriff’s office, and the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department.

At a press conference, Sheriff Steve Smith of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office said “Wharton was charged with 22 felony counts of taking indecent liberties with a child under the age of 13 while in a custodial position, and eight felony counts of aggravated sexual assault.”

The investigation focused on allegations of sexual misconduct that occurred from 1981 to 1997 while Wharton was serving as a pastor with Berachah Christian Academy. The school has since closed, but the charges are connected with Wharton’s involvement at the school.

Smith also noted that Wharton has served at churches in Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida over the past four decades.

Wharton waived extradition and was taken to Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw the same day he was arrested. He has since been released on bond.

Smith encouraged anyone who has information relevant to this investigation to contact investigator James Bruce at the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Main photo: Albert Benjamin Wharton

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Brittany Smith

Brittany Smith is a freelance writer living in Colorado Springs. She is the co-author of Unplanned Grace: A Compassionate Conversation on Life and Choice.