Church group leader sentenced to 40 years in prison for child porn possession

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A former church leader was sentenced to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual misconduct involving children.

Andre Alan Thorpe, 36, of Roxboro pleaded guilty in May to production of child pornography and possession of child pornography. He received his sentence Aug. 7.

According to U.S. attorney Robert Higdon Jr., Thorpe sexually abused an underage boy from 2013-2016. At the time, Thorpe was the leader of a church theater group; that's where the two met.

Investigators said Thorpe used drugs and manipulation to groom and control the young boy.

The boy's family even moved out of the state in an attempt to get away from Thorpe. But in 2015 and 2016, Thorpe arranged to get the boy back to North Carolina where he could take advantage of him.

In April 2016, while participating in a church event in Raleigh, Thorpe sexually abused the boy and photographed it. Investigators were able to obtain that evidence from Thorpe's cellphone.

As part of his plea agreement, Thorpe was sentenced to 40 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release.

"We are very pleased that the Court saw fit to sentence Andre Alan Thorpe to some 40 years in federal prison," Higdon said. "The victim in this case--and the victim's family--have been terrorized. As the result of the Court's sentence this defendant's life as a predator stops now!"
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