Missouri Pastor Free on Bond
Granby Minister Faces Eight Counts of Sodomy in an Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse
By Kevin Murphy
The Kansas City Star [Missouri]
August 26, 2006
A southwest Missouri minister who was charged Tuesday with eight counts of sodomy turned himself in early Friday afternoon to authorities in Newton County.
George Otis Johnston, 63, is accused in an investigation of alleged child sexual abuse at a church compound in rural Granby, Mo. He was released on bond Friday and will be arraigned Wednesday, county officials said.
Johnston, who could not be reached for comment, did not have a lawyer with him Friday, said Newton County Chief Sheriff's Deputy Chris Jennings.
"He is not talking to us," Jennings said. Johnston is charged with seven counts of first-degree statutory sodomy and one count of second-degree statutory sodomy.
Johnston is pastor at Grandview Valley Baptist Church North, which is located in a mobile home park at Granby where several families live.
On Thursday, authorities removed eight children from the compound and placed them in foster care, Jennings said. The two other children who had lived in the compound were put in protective custody Friday, he said.
A 17-year-old girl alleges she was abused by Johnston beginning at age 8, according to charges filed by the Newton County prosecutor's office.
Johnston's church is affiliated with a church compound in McDonald County, which borders Newton County on the south.
McDonald County prosecutors said children were sexually abused at that compound, and charges were filed last week.
The Rev. Raymond Lambert, pastor of Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church; his wife, Patty Lambert; and her brothers, Paul and Tom Epling; were charged with having sex with girls as young as 4 years old. They were released on bond and will be in court for a pretrial hearing Oct. 2. An attorney for the four said they deny the allegations. Johnston is the uncle of Raymond Lambert.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. To reach Kevin Murphy, call (816) 23404464 or send e-mail to email@example.com.
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