HERTFORD, N.C. (ABP) — A former director of a North Carolina Baptist camp awaiting trial on six child-sex charges was found dead of an apparent suicide May 24.
A newspaper in Hertford, N.C., quoted the sheriff of Perquimans County as confirming that Stephen Carter, former director of Cale Retreat and Conference Center in Hertford, N.C., from 2002 until his arrest last July, was found dead in a vehicle in Virginia Beach, Va., apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning.
A Virginia Beach police spokeswoman told the Perquimans Weekly the body was discovered in a wooded area around 10 p.m. Monday night and said there were no signs of foul play.
Carter, 51, was out of jail on $80,000 bond on two counts each of engaging in sexual activities with a child, felony first-degree sex offense of a child and felony indecent liberties with a child. If convicted of the most serious offense he could have faced life in prison.
After his arrest Carter was placed on administrative leave by the camp operated by Chowan Baptist Association in northeastern North Carolina. As a condition of his arrest he was banned from the property of the camp and of having any contact with anyone under 18 except for his son. The association hired an interim director in January to run this summer's camping season.
Police accused Carter of sex offenses involving three separate minors. Carter told local media he was innocent. Survivors include Carter's wife of 26 years, Grayce, and two children.
Prior before taking over as director of the camp, Carter served as a Southern Baptist missionary in Belize from 1997 to 2001 through short-term appointment with the International Mission Board. At the time of his arrest an IMB spokesperson said the agency, which has a zero-tolerance policy regarding child sexual abuse, had no knowledge of any allegation of child sexual abuse by Carter made prior to July 14, 2009.