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Statesville pastor arrested for second time on child pornography charges
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Statesville pastor arrested for second time on child pornography charges

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A Statesville pastor was arrested for a second time on sexual exploitation of a minor charges.

Tony Ernest Bunton, 64, of Eufola Road, was arrested Friday on 30 additional charges of third-degree exploitation of a minor. A magistrate set bond at $350,000.

The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Bunton was a pastor.

This arrest comes after Bunton was charged in August with four counts of felony third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. Bond in that case was set at $100,000.

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The Special Victims Unit began an investigation after receiving a cyber tip from the State Bureau of Investigation, Iredell Sheriff Darren Campbell said in a news release. The tip concerned a person in Iredell County being in possession of child pornography, he said.

In late August, sheriff’s office detectives and patrol deputies served a search warrant at Bunton’s home, seizing computers, other electronic devices and other items of evidence, Campbell said.

Campbell said the basis for the 30 additional warrants came from pictures and videos of child pornography that had been downloaded onto computers owned by Bunton.

The additional warrants were issued Oct. 1. The warrants detail that the videos contained images of children as young as 2 to 3 engaged in various sexual acts. One involved a girl roughly 10 to 12 years old engaged in sexual acts, according to the warrants.

Bunton was out on bond when warrant squad deputies arrested him Friday at his home.

Follow Ben Gibson on Facebook and Twitter at @BenGibsonSRL

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