CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) —An employee at a church in Granite Falls has been charged with sexual exploitation of a child, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday.
An investigation was launched following a tip that was received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding 51-year-old Ashley Crouse.
Crouse was arrested after two warrants were executed Friday for both his home on Helton Road in Granite Falls and his place of employment, the New Vision Baptist Church on Grace Chapel Road, according to the sheriff’s report.
Investigators said items were seized to be forensically examined for material depicting child exploitation. Charges include four counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a child, with additional charges expected, those familiar with the case said.
The FBI, North Carolina SBI, and the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office were among the agencies involved in the investigation.
Crouse is being held under a $1 million secured bond at the Caldwell County Detention Center. His first court appearance was scheduled for Monday in Lenoir in District Court.