NC man accused of raping dancer in church parking lot

James Edward Locust, 43, of Gastonia

James Edward Locust, 43, of Gastonia

CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. – A Gastonia man is accused of raping an unconscious exotic dancer inside a friend’s car at a church parking lot.

The Gaston Gazette reported that James Edward Locust, 43, was arrested and charged with first-degree rape.

Investigators said the suspect was at Leather & Lace in Gastonia overnight on Dec. 20 and agreed to give a dancer a ride home after midnight.

But the suspect was intoxicated, so he called a friend to give them both rides, each to their separate homes.

After the suspect’s friend started driving, deputies said the dancer passed out from using drugs and alcohol. The suspect then started touching her and trying to take off her pants, according to investigators.

The car’s driver told the suspect several times to stop assaulting the dancer, according to deputies.

When the suspect refused to stop, deputies said the driver pulled into a church parking lot along Oak Grove Road in Cleveland County.

The driver then got out of the car and met with police conducting a nearby traffic stop, deputies said.

Officers opened the car door and saw Locust raping the unconscious woman, according to Cleveland County deputies.

The suspect was arrested in Gaston County over the weekend and placed in the Cleveland County Jail without bond. He has court planned for Jan. 20.

The suspect’s prior convictions in North Carolina include three convictions for DWI, including two from last year.

Source: The Gaston Gazette