Las Vegas Sun

December 19, 2014

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Ex-pastor accused of not registering as sex offender

A former West Las Vegas pastor and Clark County School Board candidate was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with failing to register as a sex offender, police said.

Metro Police arrested Gary Hunter, 44, as Hunter was protesting his Aug. 1 eviction from Greater St. James Baptist Church. Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Tony Abbattangelo denied Hunter's motion to stay the eviction.

Church members demanded Hunter's eviction after accusations surfaced that he'd been stealing money and other resources from the church and that he had allegedly sexually harassed at least three young female members. They voted 96 to 21 to remove him during an Aug. 1 church service and Abbattangelo legally ousted him on Aug. 3.

Metro spokesman Sgt. Chris Jones said police began investigating Hunter's background and issued a warrant for his arrest after they discovered that Hunter, a convicted sex offender, had not registered in Nevada as required by law. It is a felony not to register, Jones said.

Jones said he could not release information about Hunter's prior conviction because it was not in Nevada, but a background search showed that Hunter was convicted in Detroit in 1985 of felony sexual assault with intent to commit sexual penetration. He was sentenced to one year in jail and four years probation, according to records kept by the Michigan State Police.

The records also showed that Hunter had a previous misdemeanor conviction of larceny in 1981 in Dearborn, Mich, and a misdemeanor conviction of stalking in 1995 in Detroit.

In his run for school board against incumbent Shirley Barber in District E, Hunter said on a Las Vegas Sun questionnaire that he wanted "to build a community base for education and love for our youth."

The Legislature changed state laws last year to allow ex-felons who have successfully completed their sentences to regain their civil rights to vote, serve on a jury and hold office, according to officials in the secretary of state's office.

It was unclear whether Hunter had petitioned to have his civil rights restored.

Hunter was still in custody Tuesday night and his attorney did not return calls for comment.

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