BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A man accused of organizing a strip poker game with 10- to 13-year-old boys at a Brunswick County religious camp is out of jail after a judge reduced his bond this morning.
Judge Jerry Jolly approved reducing Clyde Wesley Way’s bond to $20,000 cash. Assistant District Attorney Cathi Radford said the DA’s did not agree with the bond reduction when approached last week by Way’s attorney. Instead, she said she requested a $25,000 cash bond.
WWAY was the only media outlet in the courtroom when the judge made his decision and as Way left the Brunswick County Jail. Way’s attorney said neither he nor his client had any comment as Way left the jail around 3 p.m.
Just before his release, Way had a visitor. Pastor Chris Allen of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has worked alongside clyde way at many Baptist Association events the last five years. Tuesday he visited his former friend in jail trying to get answers.
“I think I take it personal, because I’m a victim of a man in the church that I grew up in,” Allen said. “When I was 7, I was sexually abused. I think that’s why this story has hurt me so much.”
Allen says that for the past eight years Way has taken ads out in the Baptist Association newsletter promoting himself as a chaperone for male campers. That has him fearing the worst.
“My fear is as long as Clyde has worked with teenage boys, I want him to come clean with God and come clean with the law, and if there is more than the boys that have come forward, I just encourage Clyde to tell his attorney,” Allen said.
Allen was allowed 20 minutes to speak with Way, but he said the the conversation lasted only four minutes, because he said Way seemed too proud.
“I had no idea he was being released today, so maybe that’s why he’s laughing,” Allen said. “If he’s laughing, I’m not sure what will happen in a court of law, but his judgement day is coming, so he needs to come clean with God.”
Way was arrested in Stanly County, where he lives, July 10 and jailed under $350,000 secured bond to face 24 charges in Brunswick County related to incidents involving boys ages 10 to 13 in late June at the North Carolina Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell.
According to arrest warrants Way, 68, played strip poker and strip war with four boys under 14. When they were completely naked, the boys were required to stand up and show their genitalia, the warrants say.
Way faces 16 counts of sexual exploitation of minors and four counts of indecent liberties with a child among other charges.
Way was not an employee of Fort Caswell. He was a volunteer student ministries team leader for the Stanly Baptist Association. The association said Way was removed from his position after the incident.
The children attending the camp reported their chaperone’s inappropriate behavior to parents who notified their pastor and the Baptist Association, according to Hal Bilbo, associational missionary. After meeting with parents and the volunteer, the association immediately notified the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office.
Prosecutors say the victims’ families have been notified of the change in bond.
Way is going back home to Albemarle, where he has been ordered to have no contact with minors other than his grandchildren.