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Man Accused of Child Sex Crimes in Guilford County Now Facing Allegations of Abuse at Burlington Church

Burlington Police are investigating allegations of sexual assault against Richard Heath, the former group home employee facing similar charges in Guilford County.

BURLINGTON, N.C. — A man facing charges in Guilford County for sex crimes against children in a group home is now being investigated by Burlington Police.

A spokesperson for Burlington Police said detectives are looking into allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual assault against 51-year-old Richard Heath. The claims are linked to a Burlington church.

Guilford County Sheriff's deputies arrested Heath on September 10 in connection to allegations that he forced one of the children at Center Of Progressive Strides to perform sexual acts and sexually battered another child. Authorities said the children were under 15. 

RELATED: More Victims Come Forward After Former Worker Charged With Sexual Assault of a Child at a Greensboro Group Home

The investigation launched by Burlington Police stems from revelations made in a Guilford County court that several possible victims, from both Guilford and Alamance Counties, had contacted the DA's office with claims that Heath had assaulted them, too. 

That hearing, on September 18, was Heath's second time before a judge, to face more felony charges brought against him for incidents detectives said occurred in the '80s and '90s. The victim in that incident had taken out charges of stalking against Heath in 2014, but those charges were dropped when authorities could not locate Heath to serve the warrants.

Burlington police said the allegations they are now looking into are of incidents which reportedly occurred during church activity.

"Burlington Police are looking into allegations concerning Heath. The allegations date back numerous years when Heath was alleged to be involved at Morning Star Baptist Church in Burlington," said Assistant Chief Brian Long.

The original allegations that launched the investigation into Heath are detailed in DHHS's 53-page report which was released on July 31. 

The report reveals that the victim is a 15-year-old boy who lived in the C.O.P.S group home, which was co-owned by now-retired deputy police chief James Hinson and former police sergeant Kevin Chandler. 

The teen reported that while in a car, Heath solicited for oral sex and inappropriately touched him on May 17. Then two days later, on May 19 at the group home, he said Heath allegedly pulled his pants down, put his genitalia in the victim's mouth and forced him to perform oral sex. Both incidents they said happened while other employees at C.O.P.S were away and or Heath was alone with the residents. 

In court, the prosecutor also revealed to the judge that the DA's office was also reviewing an incident linked to Heath involving a 10-year-old in the bathroom of a public library.

"For the state and for the service departments, we had no idea what we had stepped into but we are continuing to have persons coming forward and making allegations," said prosecutor Kelly Thompson, Guilford County Assistant District Attorney at the September 18 hearing.

Heath is expected back in court in Guilford County on October 10.

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