Embattled pastor's wife charged with $10K theft from youth group

Rain Smith • Oct 26, 2016 at 6:24 PM

KINGSPORT — As a Kingsport pastor awaits trial for allegedly siphoning more than $60,000 from his congregation’s coffers, his wife is now charged with stealing money from the church’s youth group.

Sharon Holder, 44, turned herself in at the Kingsport Police Department on Wednesday. A Sullivan County grand jury indicted her on Sept. 27 on a single count of theft over $10,000 but less than $60,00, a Class C felony.

According to court records, Holder obtained the money between July of 2011 and January of 2014, while she was in control of funds intended for the youth group at Victory Apostolic Church. Sullivan County jail records list a parsonage at the facility, located on Kite Street in Kingsport, as being Holder’s home address.

The grand jury presentment contends that Sharon Holder carried out the crime in collaboration with her husband, Boyd W. Holder, pastor of the church. In May of 2015, the grand jury returned true bills against Boyd Holder, charging him with theft of more than $60,000 and money laundering.

As previously reported by the Times-News, members of the congregation brought concerns to Kingsport police approximately three months prior to Boyd Holder’s arrest. They alleged that between $70,000 and $100,000 had been discovered missing from the church’s bank account, according to court records, and the discrepancies coincided with his tenure as pastor, which began in 2010.

Boyd Holder was reportedly the only person who could access the funds, according to a KPD incident report, and when questioned about the missing 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 a Sullivan County grand jury. Court documents state that witnesses who testified included representatives from multiple financial institutions, a Kingsport auto repair business and two dating websites, Online Buddies and Farmers Only.

Prior to the indictments and arrest of Holder, he appeared in two additional KPD police reports — both also linked to Victory Apostolic Church.

At approximately 1:20 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2014, 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 stated that the van belonged 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 altercation that occurred within Victory Apostolic on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. 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 incident. No charges were filed.

Boyd Holder’s trial on the charges of theft of more than $60,000 and money laundering, each a Class B felony, is set for March.

Sharon Holder posted $6,500 bond on Wednesday afternoon and was released from the Sullivan County jail.

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