AYDEN, N.C. (WNCT) — An eastern North Carolina man who was once a pastor was arrested and held under a $12.4 million bond on sex-related crimes against a child, officials said Thursday.

The Pitt County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook on Thursday about the arrest.

Officials said John William Lovelace was arrested Wednesday by officers with the Winterville Police Department and detectives from the Major Crimes Unit of the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office.

Lovelace, 66, the former pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Ayden, was arrested after a joint investigation into a case of suspected child abuse.

He was charged by Winterville Police with second-degree forcible sex offenses (four counts) and sexual battery (three counts). He was charged by the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office with statutory sex offense with a child less than 15 years of age (two counts) and indecent liberties with a minor.

Lovelace is being held in the Pitt County Detention Center.