Ministry leader charged with indecent liberties with a child, sexual battery

Published 5:02 pm Thursday, June 15, 2023

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A former pastor and founder of a ministry to help individuals dealing with substance use problems has been arrested for sex crimes against children.

Stanly County Sheriff’s Office said it received a report May 30 of sexual assault involving a juvenile.

Larry Wilkins

Following an investigation, detectives charged Lawrence “Larry” Francis Wilkins, 44, with four counts of felony indecent liberties with a child and four counts of misdemeanor sexual battery.

Wilkins had his first court appearance Tuesday. His next scheduled court date is July 10.

A 2020 profile in The Stanly News & Press on Wilkins shared how he changed paths in 2017 from a pastor of a nondenominational church in Albemarle to working as a lead counselor at Bridge to Recovery’s treatment program in Monroe.

While there he created the nonprofit Gateway of Hope Addiction Recovery Center. Through Gateway of Hope he opened two sober houses in Locust.

He left Bridge to Recovery in August 2019.