WASHBURN, Mo. - The minister of a rural Ozarks church, his wife and her two brothers have been accused of molesting young girls from their congregation for years, sometimes as part of a religious ritual, officials said.
The county prosecutor says the Rev. Raymond Lambert, 51, of Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church, repeatedly had sex with two underage girls with the help of his 49-year-old wife, Patty, according to court records.
For 10 years, the pastor told the girls, “We are preparing your body for service to God,” the prosecutor said. [...]
Lambert’s church is on property owned by the Epling brothers [Patty Lambert’s brothers — Paul Epling, 53, and Tom Epling, 51 — each are accused of repeatedly having sex with girls as young as age 4 in the late 1970s and early 1980s] and houses up to 100 people on a 100-acre farm in western McDonald County, Sheriff’s Deputy Michael F. Le Seuer said.
“They refer to it as a compound,” Le Seuer told The Associated Press.
The compound is behind a high gate marked “Grand Valley Farm” on a gravel road about 13 miles west of the small town of Washburn.
Local Randy Turner of The Turner Report has been covering this story in depth, noting: "Hopefully, reporters for the local newspapers and television stations are already looking into this, but just how much money is being siphoned away from the McDonald County School District by the Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church? [...] Church property is tax-exempt, a concept which is a hallmark of America, but how much property other than one church building and its immediate surroundings (if such a building exists) has been taken off the tax rolls? [...] Obviously, the tax issues pale in comparison to the alleged sexual abuse of children, but this is a side of the story that is hopefully being examined by our local media."