THOMASVILLE, N.C. (BP) — James David “Jim” Goldston III, chairman of the board of trustees for the Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) of North Carolina, has resigned from the board and his role as chairman amid allegations that he and his wife poisoned their neighbor’s dogs and sent them threatening letters.
James Goldston issued a statement through a BCH spokesperson that was presented to Baptist State Convention of North Carolina officials and also shared with members of the N.C. Baptist Convention Relations Committee and to members of the N.C. Baptist executive committee during a meeting of the N.C. Baptist board of directors held May 22-23 at Fort Caswell Coastal Retreat and Conference Center on Oak Island.
In the statement, James Goldston denied the allegations and said he was resigning to avoid being a “distraction or hindrance” to the ministry of the Baptist Children’s Homes. The full statement, which was sent to the Biblical Recorder upon request, reads:
“After more than 35 years of involvement with Baptist Children’s Homes of NC, and personally investing and helping raise millions of dollars to further this great ministry, I sadly hereby resign as a BCH Trustee. My wife and I have been falsely accused of some horrible acts and I do not want this to be a distraction or hindrance to the work done on behalf of BCH as the truth plays out within the justice system. My wife Agnes and I covet your prayers for a resolution and our personal safety during this time.
“May God continue to Bless Baptist Children’s Homes ministry.”
Vice chair Gayla Freeman of Conover immediately became the new chair of the BCH board of trustees, based on the organization’s bylaws.
According to Wake County Sheriff’s Office records, James and Agnes Goldston, both of Raleigh, were arrested on May 11, and each charged with three felony counts of cruelty to animals and one misdemeanor count of communicating threats.
According to multiple media reports, the Goldstons have been accused of poisoning three dogs belonging to one of their neighbors as part of an ongoing dispute. Two of the dogs died, and multiple veterinarians confirmed that all three had been poisoned, according to reports.
The dogs’ owners, Phillip and Jessica Ridley, also told media outlets they had received threatening letters from the Goldstons.
According to reports, other neighbors said they also received anonymous, threatening letters.
The Goldstons have each posted a $30,000 bond and ordered not to have any contact with the Ridleys, according to reports.
Seth Brown, director of convention relations with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, said state convention officials sent a letter to leaders at the Baptist Children’s Homes on May 18, saying they believed it was in the best interests of the BCH, N.C. Baptists and all cooperating ministries for James Goldston to resign from the BCH board at least until the criminal charges had been resolved.
A BCH spokesperson said James Goldston submitted his resignation on May 21.
“We were encouraged to hear Mr. Goldston’s decision,” Brown told members of the N.C. Baptist executive committee. “While we dare not prejudge the charges against him, we believe then and now that this was the best course of action for all of our ministries.”
Before resigning from the BCH board, James Goldston also resigned from the board of directors of the nonprofit organization Saving Grace Animal Adoptions, Inc.
In a Facebook post on May 13 – two days after James and Agnes Goldston’s arrest – Saving Grace issued a statement saying that James Goldston had “voluntarily resigned, effective immediately, to avoid any distraction from the important work of the organization.”