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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What Really Happened in Pender County North Carolina?

Something is rotten in North Carolina. What, exactly, remains to be seen. Something terrible has happened, but I'm not sure if it because some allegations are true or because they false.

reported at portcitydaily.com several days ago...


Detectives with the Pender County Sheriff’s Office are searching a father and daughter wanted for incest.

That's how the article opens. Based on that alone, it sounds like they are wanted for consensual adult incest with each other, which shouldn't a be a crime in the first place.
Robert Earley [address redacted] is charged with incest against a child who is 13, 14 or 15 years old and defendant is at least six years older than the child when the incest occurred, Detective Sgt. John Leatherwood said. He is also charged with statutory rape/sex offense where the defendant is at least six years older than the child, negligent child abuse involving serious injury, and incest.

Serious charges. If someone preys on a child, they should be locked up in a bad place for a very long time.

Natalie Earley, who lives in the same home with her father, is also charged with incest.

Hmmm. Comparing the charges against her to the charges against him, it would seem to me that the charge against her deals with consensual adult incest, since she isn't charged with abusing a child. If that is so, she shouldn't be facing any charges. He's 51, she's 25.

The story was also reported at wect.com and then more information was presented in this report by at wwaytv3.com...

When WWAY drove by the home where investigators say Robert and Natalie used to live, Robert's mother and one of his daughters were home and spoke to us.

They say the allegations Pender County has charged Robert and Natalie with stem from a custody battle Robert and his estranged wife are having over their five-year-old son. As far as the family is concerned, Robert and Natalie are both innocent.
Ah. The plot thickens. Do some people abuse children? Yes. Do some people in custody disputes make false allegations of child abuse? Yes. Do family members of people who are facing criminal charges swear their loved ones are innocent even if they aren't? Yes. So... we still don't know for sure what is going on here. But read on...



Jennifer says she is embarrassed because of the two incest charges pinned on her father and the incest charge against her 25-year-old sister.

"My father molested my little sister, whose 25? She not 12, 13, 14, or 15 and (the child) is 5," Earley said.

The child, who we are not identifying because of the nature of the alleged crimes, is Robert's child from another marriage according to Jennifer. Jennifer said Robert has custody of the child, but now the child's mother wants the child back.

"The mother has said a bunch of things, allegations on my father," Earley said.

According to Jennifer, her father and sister took the child away because of the custody battle with Robert's estranged wife. She went on to say that Natalie has been very involved in the child's care and has been given some parental rights over the child.

Again, custody battles can get very nasty.
She also defended Natalie's character, stating she has never done anything wrong in her life.

"My sister has a perfect record. She has been an outstanding citizen," Earley said. "She is a CNA, and she works two jobs half of the time to try and help out."
That doesn't mean there wasn't child abuse. But again, what is the evidence there was child abuse? As the family points out, the allegations don't match the ages of the people supposedly involved. Some comments were left after the article...

problem is..NO MATTER WHAT the outcome...the guy has been branded as sleeping with his daughter and molesting children FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. In the US...you are GUILTY even if your innocent.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of truth to that.

These charges should be thoroughly investigated, and if the mother has lied she should be thrown in jail and given an extreme sentence. This could be a horrible crime... or it could be an evil accusation that causes harm to this mans life as well as other members of this family.
Agreed.
I would think that if a law enforcement agency is going to issue a press release they would put all of the important information in it. Including the small boy in the press release could be the one little thing that could cause a citizen to pay closer attention to a couple seen at a gas station. If their investigator did not even know about the boy I question how well he did the rest of his investigation. Pender County Sheriffs Department never has been the brightest bulb in the pack, but recently they have been slipping big time
Good point.
...a jilted spouse going for the jugular, that in itself should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. These kinds of accusations are very serious and carry with them lifetime ramifications that are nearly impossible to eradicate.

Angry spouses that are hell-bent to destroy a person they once loved is the mark of a very sick and demented mind.
And here's an update from at wwaytv3.com...
The Pender County father and daughter on the run and charged with sex offenses reached out to WWAY over the weekend. They say they want their side of the story to be heard.

Maybe I'm reading too much into that, but it seems to me that very few people do this. The last thing a criminal, especially a child abuser, wants to do is talk with the media.
Deputies continue to look for Robert Lee Earley Jr., 52, and his daughter Natalie Earley, 25. Both are wanted for incest. Over the weekend, they called WWAY.

I'm not sure why that is at the top of the story, rather than the more serious allegations against him.

"My name is Natalie Earley, and I'm calling to tell you there is two sides to every story, and me and my dad would like to set up a private interview before we turn ourselves in," Natalie Earley said in a voicemail.
 
She and her father left three messages on WWAY's general manager's phone declaring their innocence.

If you go to the website, you can hear the audio.
In their voicemails, both Earleys claim there is a lot more to the story. Robert Earley says all of the allegations against him and his daughter stem from a custody battle with his estranged wife.

"I told this to Sgt. (John) Leatherwood when he interviewed me, and then he threatened to press charges against me for child abuse and child neglect, so I left," Robert Earley said.

Natalie Earley says her father is not the man deputies say he is.

"My dad does not harm anybody," she said in one of her two messages. "He's harmless. I really need you to get the real story on the inside scoop."
Unfortunately, people involved in child abuse often do not think they are harming the child, or will swear they would never hurt a child. So if these two adults have been involved in child abuse, Natalie may think she is telling the truth. But if they were, why wasn't she charged, too? On the other hand, if these allegation are false, she may indeed be telling the truth.

So what really has happened? We can't know based on the information provided. Either way, something terrible has happened. Either a child has been abused, or someone has made false allegations that have ruined the lives of many people. Regardless, the fact remains that molestation or sexual assault of a child should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and consensual sex between adults (no matter how closely related) should not be a crime in the first place. That's why "incest" needs to be dropped from the criminal code and needs be clarified when used by journalists.

I welcome comments or emails from anyone who has more information, including the people involved.
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