Wife Included in Pastor Abuse Trial

1 decade 3 years 9 months ago Monday, December 18 2006 Dec 18, 2006 Monday, December 18, 2006 2:52:18 PM CST December 18, 2006 in News
Source: (Copyright 2007 The Associated Press All Rights Reserved.)
PINEVILLE (AP) The wife of a church official is the fourth person ordered to stand trial in a case of alleged sex abuse of young girls at two southwest Missouri church communes. The McDonald County Circuit Court clerk's office said Laura Epling was bound over for trial today by Associate Judge Gregory Stremel after testimony from the alleged victim, now 19. Epling faces a count of second-degree statutory sodomy for allegedly helping the Reverend Raymond Lambert molest a 16-year-old girl at the Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church. Epling has pleaded not guilty. No trial date was set but an arraignment will be held January ninth. The same victim testified in October against Lambert and his wife, Patty Lambert. The couple also face trial although a date has not yet been set. Raymond Lambert faces seven felony counts of child sexual abuse, and his wife faces one count of child molestation. Also set for trial is Raymond Lambert's uncle, George Otis Johnston, who was pastor of a church commune in neighboring Newton County. Johnston has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of abusing a girl over an eight-year period beginning when she was eight years old.

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