Thomasville man faces additional sex charges after years of abuse, police say


Clifford James Colwell Sr.

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THOMASVILLE, N.C. — Detectives have filed numerous additional charges in the case of a Thomasville man who was charged last week with disseminating harmful material to a minor, according to a press release.

Police were first alerted to alleged inappropriate behavior against a minor on Aug. 19. During the initial investigation, detectives learned the suspect, 66-year-old Clifford James Colwell Sr., had sent inappropriate text messages to a juvenile.

A Thomasville detective, who is also a member of NC Internet Crimes Against Children task force, pretended to be a minor and engaged in a text messaging conversation with the suspect.

Based on the information gained through the conversation and statements from witnesses, detectives were able to apply for and execute a search warrant at Colwell’s residence.

Evidence collected along with a very detailed forensic interview conducted by The Dragonfly House Children’s Advocacy Center, led detectives to charge Colwell with the following:

  • Seven counts of indecent liberties with a minor
  • Six counts of statutory sex offense with a child
  • Four counts of statutory rape of a child

The offenses allegedly began in 2012 when the victim was 8 years old. The victim is now 14. Colwell received an additional $2 million secured bond. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are expected.

Colwell was previously charged with two counts of disseminating harmful material to a minor.

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