Former school counselor, minister sentenced for child sex crimes

A 72-year-old Edgecombe County man who spent 25 years as an Edgecombe County school counselor and previously listed his occupation as a pastor on his Facebook page was convicted on four counts of attempted first-degree statutory sex offense on Feb. 23 in Edgecombe County Superior Court.

News of the conviction was posted on the District Attorney's Office's Facebook page.

Melvin Ray Williamson was sentenced to a prison term of 15 to 23 years and is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Williamson, who had lived at 4420 Meadowbrook Road in Rocky Mount, already was confined in state prison after being convicted in December in Bladen County on a statutory sex offense with a 10-year-old female. He was sentenced to 12 to 19 years in prison and required to register as a sex offender for 30 years.

The Telegram first reported on Williamson’s legal problems on Sept. 18, 2020, after Edgecombe County deputies took him into custody at the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office in Clinton.

Then-Detective Sgt. Robert Tinder of the sheriff's office said local law enforcement officials learned of Williamson when they were contacted by the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office. Tinder has since been promoted to captain.

“We got a call from Sampson County making us aware of the sexual assault and through our investigation, we learned it (the offense) took place at his home and obtained the warrants,” he said.

Williamson’s Facebook page, which has since been removed, said he was a counselor at SouthWest Edgecombe High School from May 5, 1987, until June 30, 2000, and at Tarboro High School from Aug. 2000 until June 30, 2012.