State - Regional

SC minister accused of having sex, impregnating minor twice, faces new charges

GAFFNEY, SC (WSPA) - An Upstate minister, who was arrested and charged by Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office investigators after he admitted to having sex and impregnating a teenage girl, faces news charges in Gaffney.

According to a Gaffney Police Department news release, the City of Gaffney Detective Division has placed a hold on Phillip Jerard Buckson, who is currently being held in the Spartanburg County Detention Center.

Gaffney Police Chief Chirs Skinner said detectives have charged Buckson with second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

According to the release, the incident occurred within the Gaffney city limits.

Skinner said more charges may be pending following their investigation.

On Wednesday, we reported that Buckson was charged with four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

On Jan. 30, investigators assigned with the Internet Crimes Against Task Force received two tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the victim was identified and interviewed.

In the sheriff's office report, the tips received were in regards to the exchange of child pornography.

During the investigation, Buckson was identified as the suspect.

The victim told investigators that she and Buckson had sex multiple times at Buckson's home in Cherokee County starting on Oct. 9, 2015.

According to the report, the victim was 13 years old at the time of the incident, and said that she and Buckson also had sex multiple times throughout Spartanburg County as well.

The victim alleged that the sexual encounters in Spartanburg County occurred in the beginning of her first semester of 9th grade, when she was 14 years old.

According to the report, the victim said that she became pregnant on two occasions and said she had two abortions to terminate both pregnancies.

A magistrate approved warrants charging Buckson on Wednesday.

He was arrested at his church and taken to the sheriff's office, where he gave a full confession to the allegations.

During his bond hearing Thursday in Spartanburg County, Buckson's bond was set at a total of $20,000, $5,000 per charge.

His next court date in Spartanburg County was set for April 25.

During the hearing, Buckson was told to not have any direct or indirect contact with the victim or the victim's family.

Buckson is listed as a pastor at Cleveland Chapel Baptist Church in Spartanburg County, according to the church's website.

On Thursday, church officials issued the following statement in regards to Buckson's arerst:

"We, the congregation of Cleveland Chapel Baptist Church are saddened by the recent news involving Pastor Phillip J. Buckson. This news has devestated the Cleveland Chapel community, and the Body of Christ. It is our duty as Christians not to condemn, but to pray for the person involved, and for Pastor Buckson. We ask for the prayers of the Spartanburg community and surrounding areas as CCBC goes through this current predicament."

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