A Trenton pastor who was accused this month of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old Philadelphia boy has been cleared by a judge, who determined that there was insufficient evidence.
Charges against Charles Brinson, 48, were dismissed after a preliminary hearing Friday in the Family Division of the Court of Common Pleas.
Brinson had been charged with contact with a minor, solicitation, and corruption of a minor, according to police.
In Friday's hearing, the alleged victim testified that he never had sexual contact with Brinson.
"These were trumped-up charges," Brinson said yesterday. "They dragged my name through the mud and they had no evidence."
Brinson, who is associated with several churches in New Jersey, was arrested Sept. 13 in Trenton.
Investigators initially said that Brinson picked up the boy in Philadelphia this year and took him to Brinson's home in Florence.
However, Brinson never assaulted the boy or took him anywhere, said Brinson's lawyer, Max Kramer.
Brinson met the boy on a telephone chat line, Kramer said. The service was intended for people over 18, and Kramer said the alleged victim pressed a button on the phone to indicate that he was over 18.
The two arranged to meet, but a relative of the boy's reported Brinson to the police, Kramer said.
Brinson did not comment on how he met the boy, and said he was counseling the boy about his emotional problems.