A rural Wilson man is behind bars facing charges in a multiple child abuse sex crime case.
Carter County Sheriff Milton Anthony said 51-year-old Mark Gray was arrested late Friday following interviews at the sheriff's department in which "admissions" were made. Gray was booked into the Carter County Detention Center pending charges that include first-degree rape, forcible sodomy, lewd molestation, possession of marijuana and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Gray is currently detained on a $200,000 bond. Anthony said he anticipates sending reports to the district attorney's office for review today.
The sheriff said an investigation was launched last week after the victim disclosed information to an adult at a church function.
"The victim, who was 11 at the time this occurred, told the adult he had been raped and molested at the suspect's home. The adult, in turn, told the child's mother, who contacted us," Anthony said.
The sheriff said investigative interviews were conducted with the victim by members of the multidisciplinary team at C/SARA. Based on information and evidence, deputies went to Gray's residence Friday.
"When deputies entered the house, they discovered a gun in plain view. The weapon was seized, and Gray was then brought to the sheriff's department for an interview," Anthony said.
While the investigation continues, the sheriff said it appears Gray sexually assaulted the victim when the child had been left in his care. Anthony would not discuss other details of the investigation or whether it was possible other children may have been victimized.
"What I will say is this case is tragic and that crimes against children are at the top of my priority list. Children are the most valuable asset we have. They deserve to be protected. I will do my utmost to make sure children in Carter County are safe from those who would prey on them," Anthony said.