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Kingsport pastor charged with felony theft from church

Rain Smith • May 23, 2015 at 10:35 PM

A Kingsport pastor has been arrested for allegedly siphoning more than $60,000 from his church's bank account, then putting the funds to his own personal use.On Wednesday, a Sullivan County grand jury returned indictments against Boyd Watson Holder Jr., 44. Kingsport Police arrested Holder late Thursday night at the parsonage of Victory Apostolic Church on Kite Street.Holder has reportedly served as pastor of the church since 2010. According to records, some members of the congregation brought concerns to police in early February of this year.They alleged that between $70,000 and $100,000 had been discovered missing from the church's bank account, believing that the discrepancies coincided with Holder's tenure.Holder was reportedly the only person who could access the funds, according to a KPD incident report — and when questioned about the money by church members, responded, "It is none of your business."KPD detectives launched an investigation into the complaint, analyzing financial records of both Holder and the church. Findings of the criminal probe were presented to the grand jury this week, with a true bill returned that indicted Holder for theft of more than $60,000 and money laundering. Each charge is a Class B felony.Citing an ongoing investigation, Kingsport police have declined to specify the exact amount of money believed to have been stolen from church coffers, or what Holder is alleged to have used them for.Court documents state that witnesses to the grand jury included representatives from multiple financial institutions, a Kingsport auto repair business and websites Online Buddies and Farmers Only.Along with the claims of stolen money, Holder appears in two additional KPD incident reports over the past six months. Both are also linked to Victory Apostolic Church.At approximately 1:20 p.m. of Dec. 15, an officer observed a large, white passenger van in the rear parking lot of the vacant Stone East building, 2550 East Stone Drive. A check of the vehicle reportedly found two individuals engaged in sex acts.One of those men, identified as Holder, allegedly apologized to police, then identified the van as belonging to his church. The officer told them not to "have relations in public," then ordered that they leave the property and not return.A separate report chronicles an alleged physical altercation that occurred within Victory Apostolic on Sunday, Feb. 15. A man told police that when he visited to worship, Holder ordered him to leave. Holder reportedly demanded the visitor do so because he, "was not there for the right reasons."When the complainant again refused — offering that he only "wanted to enjoy the service" — Holder allegedly, "grabbed him by his belt and attempted to lift him out of the pew." It was after other church members "politely" asked the man to leave that he complied, then called police to report the incidentKPD records don't specify a catalyst for the disturbance between Holder and the complainant. The latter ultimately declined to pursue assault charges, telling an officer that he "only wanted to make sure his side was heard."As of early Friday morning, Holder remained held in the Kingsport jail on the charges of theft from the church. His bond was set at $35,000.

Lyle Kincheloe is a former board member of the church. He says he was "kicked out" — along with several other congregational leaders — when they confronted Holder about missing funds.He suggests Holder attained a stranglehold on the church and had "taken control to the treasury himself.""We went on a Wednesday night to hold a meeting to dismiss him," Kincheloe told the Times-News. "We even had two Kingsport detectives with us. He told us he had done no wrong, we couldn't do this and couldn't have no meeting — so forth and so on.""The former church members, and the ones he threw out, we are glad to see justice being served," added Kincheloe, who cooperated with the KPD in their investigation. "This upset a lot of Apostolic churches in the community. I hate it for people who believed in him."Kincheloe also cautioned the public from pointing to Holder's arrest, then using it to paint the religious community with a broad stroke."This is an isolated thing," he said. "Not all churches are like this. Not all pastors are like this. There are good churches in the Kingsport area. I'd advise anybody to find them a church."

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