Baptist Pastor Acquitted of Rape Charge

The Associated Press, carried in Dayton Daily News
July 20, 2006

Cleveland — A jury acquitted a Baptist pastor of charges he raped a Thai immigrant and threatened to have her deported if she reported the alleged crime.

Richard Manning, 48, of suburban Parma Heights, and his wife hugged and cried following the verdict Tuesday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

"We just prayed that the truth would come out, and it did," Manning said.

Manning was charged with rape, kidnapping, gross sexual imposition and intimidation in December after the woman, in her 40s, told police he had raped her several times. Police said he coerced her into having sex by making her believe he could have her deported if she refused.

Manning arrived at Parma Baptist Church last September and was introduced to the woman because he lived in Thailand for several years and spoke Thai. He now works at a dry cleaner.

Prosecutors argued Manning used his position to gain the woman's trust and take advantage of her. His attorney offered evidence that after the woman claimed she had been raped, she maintained a relationship with Manning, cooking him dinners and praising him at his church.


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