ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) — Washington County, Virginia authorities charged the pastor of Valley View Baptist Church in Abingdon with several child-sex-related crimes on Sept. 8.
A release from the sheriff’s office on Sept. 14 identified the pastor as 38-year-old Michael Canter, who is a lifelong resident of the county.
Washington County, Virginia Detective William Smarr said the alleged sexual assault happened to a member of the congregation at a church event.
He faces the following charges against a juvenile girl: taking indecent liberties with a child, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and attempted object sexual penetration.
“I’ve told my kids this before — the monsters aren’t under the bed,” Smarr said. “They’re out there in the world with us. And they look like you and I.”
Smarr said the investigation began around two weeks ago after the underage victim came forward. Smarr said there is a possibility there could be more victims.
“Please come forward,” Smarr said. “We hear you; we see you, and when you come forward with an accusation like this, we will believe you and work to establish the truth and to find justice for you.”
Canter remains in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail without bond.
The sheriff’s office urges citizens to call 276-676-6000 if they need to report a crime or any other information surrounding this case.