Investigation reveals registered sex offender leading services at North Carolina church
Image: Convicted sex offender and would-be pastor Kenneth Cagle (Screen capture)

A registered sex offender in Hickory, North Carolina was arrested for violating the terms of his release by serving as a church leader and working with children.

According to WSOC-TV, Kenneth Lee Cagle, 53, was charged after an undercover investigation revealed that he was conducting services at Back to Calvary Community Church Apostolic in Connelly Springs, a violation of court orders mandating that he stay away from places where children are present.

Pastor Leon Hoyle said that he objects to the government's treatment of Cagle as a dangerous man.

“I’ve known him for over a year, plus,” Hoyle said. “Brother Cagle has been around my children and has never tried nothing. I would trust him with my children by himself and I would trust him around your children by himself.”

Nonetheless, after he was convicted of felony third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor in 2003, Cagle is absolutely forbidden to work with children.

The Burke County Sheriff's Office investigated Cagle's involvement with the church for more than two months. Multiple sources within the community had reported that Cagle was at one point operating a church within his home and attempting to acquire funds to open his own church.

Once he raised the money, he and Hoyle reportedly began Back to Calvary.

The warrant for Cagle's arrest said that he “operated a church facility where minors were present,” and that his “responsibilities or activities included instruction, supervision or care” of children.

An undercover officer attended Sunday's service and acting on what the officer saw, deputies arrested Cagle on Sunday night.

Hoyle and members of Cagle's family bailed him out.

Hoyle feels that it's unfair to prevent Cagle from worshipping and trying to improve his life.

“A sex offender can go to the bar, can go to the prostitute house, but can’t go to the house of the Lord,” he protested.

Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant said he's trying to protect children, not prevent anyone from worshipping God.

“We have to go by what the statute says,” said the sheriff. “If you’re a registered sex offender, you cannot be around children in certain situations -- a church being one of them.”

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