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New Bern Mayor Lee Bettis indicted on child abuse charges

Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:30:36 AM CST   Updated On: Aug 28 2013 06:13:44 PM CDT

New Bern Mayor Lee Bettis is being charged with misdemeanor child abuse in connection with his DWI arrest on May 6 in Havelock.

According to court papers, Bettis was indicted by a grand jury last week.

Mayor Bettis allegedly had his two stepchildren in his car when he was pulled over by police in Havelock. He was charged with a DWI for that incident, despite blowing a 0.00 on a breathalyzer.

He tested positive for prescription Xanax, though the level of the drug in his bloodstream wasn't available.

The grand jury indicted Bettis on DWI, careless and reckless driving, and two counts of child abuse.

"Mr. Bettis is being treated as the law allows for any other defendants," said the special prosecutor in the case, Isaac Avery III.

Bettis was arrested Tuesday but was released on a written promise to appear in court.

The indictments mean the case will move to Superior Court, where a jury will hear the case.

Bettis' next court date is in mid-September.

His attorney, Bill Powers out of Charlotte, declined to comment.