UNION — Seven months after his first trial ended in a hung jury, a local minister is again being tried for allegedly having sex with an underage girl in 2010.
Stephen Douglas Berry, 38, 848 Bob Little Road, Jonesville, was arrested in 2011 and charged by the Union County Sheriff’s Office with criminal sexual conduct with a minor second-degree. Berry, the former associate pastor of New Life Baptist Church, is accused of repeatedly having sex with the victim, who was 15 at the time, between May 2010 and November 2010.
Berry was first tried on the charge in July but after three days of testimony and hours of deliberation resulted in a hung jury and a mistrial being declared.
Union County Clerk of Court Freddie Gault said Thursday that Berry’s second trial on the charge of criminal sexual conduct with a minor second-degree began Tuesday with jury selection throughout the day and testimony starting late that afternoon. He said testimony was heard throughout Wednesday and was continuing Thursday.
Berry’s case is being tried before Judge John C. Hayes of York. He is represented by Eric Delaney of the York County Public Defenders Office. The state’s case is being presented by Sixteenth Circuit Deputy Solicitor John Anthony.
Since being arrested for criminal sexual conduct with a minor second-degree, Berry was arrested in April 2011 by the sheriff’s office for sex/lewd act upon a child under 16 for allegedly inappropriately touching a 13-year-old girl on numerous occasions during the summer of 2008. A few months later he was arrested by the Union Public Safety Department for criminal sexual conduct third-degree for allegedly engaging in sexual battery of the victim between February 1 and July 8 of 2011. Unlike the two previous cases, the victim was not a minor but was described in the incident report as being mentally defective.
The sex/lewd act upon a child under 16 charge is still pending, but the criminal sexual conduct third-degree charge was dismissed in August 2012 after the victim died.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.