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Grand jury indicts ex-pastor on new sex charges, three more alleged victims

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SMITHFIELD-A Johnston County Grand Jury Monday, Oct. 7 handed down seven  indictments on sex crimes against a former Four Oaks pastor. The new indictments charge Rev. Steve Morris, 61, with allegedly commiting sexual offenses against three more victims.

The three new indictments involve a woman and two underage girls. The four superseding indictments involve his original charges.

A superseding indictment is an indictment that replaces a previous indictment. These indictments are usually filed when new evidence has been found and new charges need to be filed.

Morris, turned himself in Wednesday, Oct. 9 and is being held in the Johnston County Jail on a $1 million secured bond.

Morris' attorney Bob Denning said he had not seen the new indictments and would attempt to get Morris' bond reduced so he can return to house arrrest.

Morris had been on house arrest since July. His bond was originally $2.5  million. Superior Court Judge Henry Willis reduced it to $250,000 on July 25.

A Johnston County Grand Jury originally down three true bills of indictments in July  on charges Morris sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl five years ago.

 The alleged victim, now 19, reported the incidents to the Johnston County Sheriff's Office in June. Rev. Steve Morris was arrested at his Parkertown Road home in Four Oaks on July 5.

In the superseding indictments, Morris is charged with six counts of statutory rape/ sexual offense and six counts of taking indecent liberties with the original victim. The incidents allegedly occurred December 2013-May 2014.

In the new indictments, Morris is also charged with one count of attempted first degree exploitation of minor in which he tried to get two girls, both under the age of 16, to engage in sexual activity for a video. He is also charged with one count of solicitation of another to commit first degree exploitation of a minor. This alleged incident occurred in 2008.

Morris is also charged with one count each of attempting to take indecent liberties with each girl in 2007.

Assistant District Attorney Paul Jackson declined comment.

"To ensure the integrity of the judicial process, I cannot ethically comment on a pending case," said Jackson.

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