Kingsport pastor's wife cleared of theft from church

Rain Smith • Sep 13, 2018 at 2:16 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — A woman’s charges of stealing money from a Kingsport church’s youth group have been dropped, but the $60,000 money laundering case against her husband — who serves as pastor at the church — is still moving forward.

In September 2016, a Sullivan County grand jury indicted Sharon Holder on a single count of theft over $10,000 but less than $60,000. She was accused of illegally obtaining the money between July 2011 and January 2014, while she was in control of funds intended for the youth group at Victory Apostolic Church on Kite Street.

During reciprocal discovery this summer, Sharon Holder’s attorney provided prosecutors with information that was favorable in her defense. Assistant District Attorney Emily Hutchins told the Times News that after reviewing the evidence, the state has decided not to pursue the theft case against her.

The dismissal of her charge has no bearing on the theft case against her husband, Boyd Holder, the pastor of Victory Apostolic. In May 2015, a grand jury returned true bills against him on charges of theft of more than $60,000 and money laundering. Each is a Class B felony.

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, adding that 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 Kingsport Police Department incident report, and when questioned about the missing money by church members, told them, “It is none of your business.”

KPD detectives launched an investigation into the complaint, analyzing financial records of both Boyd Holder and the church.

Findings of the criminal probe were presented to a 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.

A few months prior to the indictment of Boyd Holder, he appeared in two additional police reports that were linked to the church.

In December 2014, an officer observed the Victory Apostolic Church van in the rear parking lot of an East Stone Drive building. Holder and another man were found inside, and the officer instructed them not to “have relations in public.” They were ordered to leave the property, and no charges were placed.

Two months later, a separate police report chronicled an alleged altercation that occurred inside the church. A man told police that when he visited to worship, Holder ordered him to leave. When the man refused, Holder allegedly “grabbed him by his belt and attempted to lift him out of the pew.” Police took no action in the incident.

Over the past three years, multiple motions and filings have delayed Holder's case from going to trial. Hutchins added that there was also a large amount of data for investigators to sift through.

As of Thursday, an announcement hearing was set for next month in Sullivan County court.

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