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Ashley James Crouse
WHKY file photo

Federal Child Pornography Charge Lodged Against Granite Falls Pastor

A Granite Falls pastor previously accused of having child sexual abuse materials now faces a federal child porn charge. As WHKY previously reported, 51-year-old Ashley James Crouse was arrested November 3, 2023 following an investigation based on a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The tip first came in April 2023 from the cloud storage service Dropbox, which reported one of its users possessed child pornography. The name, email address and IP addresses used were traced back to Crouse.

Deputies with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation searched Crouse’s home and New Vision Baptist Fellowship Church on November 3. Crouse admitted to investigators that he watched child pornography on his church computer while multi-tasking and completing church business, according to federal documents.

Investigators found more than 10,000 images depicting child sexual abuse on devices found in Crouse’s home and church office – including his church computer. According to police records, the materials depicted children younger than 10-years-old engaged in sexual acts.

Crouse was initially charged with four counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. An additional four counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor were later added. Now, he is also facing a federal charge of receipt of child pornography.

[Story courtesy of Rick Gilbert, WACB]