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Good old "Christian Family" once again....

Original post made by Annon, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2009

5 Ministers charged in child sex abuse case appear in court

LEXINGTON, Mo. — Five family members charged in a child sex abuse case in western Missouri have made their first court appearance.

The 77-year-old father and his four adult sons are charged with several felonies, including sodomy and rape involving children under 12.

The men appeared in Lafayette County court in orange jumpsuits and with shackles at their wrist, waist and ankles. The judge read the charges against them. The men did not enter pleas and did not appear to have legal representation at the 20-minute hearing.

The men are being held on cash bonds. Their next court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17.

Meanwhile, authorities were preparing to resume the search for evidence, including possible bodies, on land in nearby Bates City where the abuse allegedly occurred.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

LEXINGTON, Mo. (AP) — An excavation was scheduled to resume Thursday at a rural western Missouri property where authorities believe they may find bodies and buried glass jars with notes written by children who may have documented sexual abuse.

The property, about 30 miles east of Kansas City, was once owned by two of five family members arrested Tuesday.

"There has been an indication that there are body or bodies in numerous locations," said Lafayette County Sheriff Kerrick Alumbaugh, although he would not say whose bodies they might be.

The five family members are charged with several felonies, including forcible sodomy, rape with a child younger than 12 and use of a child in a sexual performance. The allegations, which include bestiality, forcing children into fake marriages with relatives and making an 11-year-old have an abortion, date from 1988 to 1995.

Three of the five men are lay ministers in the Community of Christ church whose licenses have been suspended, church spokeswoman Linda L. Booth said.

Alumbaugh pleaded for the public's help, saying investigators "believe that there are other victims out there" and that the public can provide more information.

Cpl. Bill Lowe of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said a 26-year-old woman came forward to investigators in mid-August with the allegations. A probable cause statement released by the Lafayette County prosecutor's office says five other siblings of the woman have accused all five men of abuse, but it's unclear whether all the siblings were claiming to be victims.

Lowe said the woman told investigators that she and her siblings had buried glass jars around the property that were filled with messages "about what was happening to them" when they were younger. The woman said she had "suppressed many of the memories of abuse perpetrated on her" and her siblings, according to the probable cause statement.

Sgt. Collin Stosberg of the Highway Patrol said the adults told the children to write down their bad memories.

"That was what they were told. Write these memories down, put them in a jar and bury it and the memories would go away," Stosberg said. "It was a way for them to cope."

The woman who came forward also claimed some of the men forced her to have sex with a dog and to watch as her brother was abused.

"She became pregnant and was made to have an abortion at age 11 1/2. She doesn't remember any sexual abuse after that date," the probable cause statement said.

The suspects were identified as Burrell Edward Mohler Sr., 77, of Independence, and his sons, Burrell Edward Mohler Jr., 53, also of Independence; Jared Leroy Mohler, 48, of Columbia; Roland Neil Mohler, 47, of Bates City; and David A. Mohler, 52, of Lamoni, Iowa.

All five were being held in the Lafayette County jail on cash bonds ranging from $30,000 to $75,000. It was not clear if they had attorneys.

The Associated Press is not revealing details that could identify the alleged victims.

Deborah Burris, who has lived across the street from Burrell Mohler Sr. for several years, described the suspect as a friendly, helpful neighbor. Burris said she occasionally saw Burrell Mohler Sr. walking around the neighborhood but he had appeared frail lately.

Booth, the church spokeswoman, said none of the Mohlers served in leadership roles in the congregations they attended "nor did they serve as volunteer youth workers, teach children or youth church school, or work with children or youth."

"The church takes seriously the allegations that have been made and suspended the priesthood licenses of three lay ministers: Burrell Mohler Sr., David Mohler and Jared Mohler," the church said in a statement.

Booth said one of the men, whom she refused to identify, had been registered to work with children but that license has been terminated.

The Community of Christ, headquartered in Independence, split from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1860 and was known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints until 2001. It has about 250,000 members worldwide.

Associated Press writers Maria Sudekum Fisher in Kansas City, Mo., and Alan Scher Zagier in Columbia, Mo., contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Comments (6)

Like this comment
Posted by annon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 10:24 am

That topic title was meant to read:

Good old "Christian Family Values" once again.

It is evident that organised religion breeds sexual deprivation, resulting molestations and more serious crimes against children on a GRAND and National scale, over and over again throughout history.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 12, 2009 at 10:30 am

nice try...unfortunately, child molestation is an equal opportunity crime: christians, jews, muslims, buddhists, hindus and everybody else under the sun does it. It's easy to commit such crimes and most people seem not to care and rarely believe the child victim. sad

Like this comment
Posted by 2ME4U
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 12, 2009 at 4:21 pm

I do think the Catholic church has a higher rate of this behavior in the U.S. than other religions because the priests are not allowed to marry. People trying to hide from their true sexual identity and hoping giving their life to god will fix it. It's a long explaination on my side and people wouldn't read it all so I'll leave it at that. I will not indite all religions, all Catholic priests, Christians and so on because of the actions of a few. I do hate the stories though of the congregation or higher ups in the church silencing these stories and just moving their priest to a new parish.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 12, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Unfortunately, children and vulnerable adults are the targets of sexual abuse. Some child molesters are single and others are married. The majority of child molesters are not strangers and they come from all walks of life. It has to do with power and control over other persons and nothing to do with hiding from one's sexual identity. All clergy are not involved in sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults. It is not as some people have claimed, merely an unpleasant trauma. There are lifetime consequence for survivor's of child sexual abuse. Please support any legislation specifically to protect children and vulnerable adults from adult sexual predators.

Like this comment
Posted by 2ME4U
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 13, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Why so few comments on this truely horrible crime but hundreds on the mall guy? P-Town priorities? Because it's not a NIMBY situation? Because it's on of their own? The silence is deafening.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 13, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Silence helps maintain the sexual abuse of innocent children and vulnerable adults. It also protects the perpetrator. Now you know why the sexual violence against innocent never ends.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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