NEW BERN -

A former daycare owner who is facing rape charges is scheduled for court this week.
     
Larry Stewart, 54, of New Bern is charged with the statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl.  Stewart and his wife are the former owners of "Stewart's Care Free Day Care Home" on Highway 55 in New Bern.  The couple ran the daycare out of their home.
     
Neighbors tell us the daycare has been closed since about October, around the same time Stewart was arrested.  According to arrest warrants, the alleged sex acts happened between June and September of last year.

"I'm very surprised," Ramon Burgos, who lives near Stewart, said. "I'm shocked.  I know Larry and he's been a nice person ever since I've know him."

Stewart was arrested in November and will make his first appearance in court Friday.