Authorities are searching a farm near Bates, Mo., for evidence in a sex abuse case that led to the arrests this week of an elderly man and his four middle-age sons, reports the Kansas City Star. According to court documents, Burrell Edward Mohler Sr., 77, of Independence, allegedly presided over the abuse that included mock weddings in which a girl would marry a relative before the two would head to the chicken coop for privacy. Three of the men arrested were members of the Community of Christ lay priesthood.
All five defendants were arrested Tuesday on multiple charges of forcible sodomy and rape after one of the alleged victims, now 26, related grim stories, such as being forced with other children to line up on their knees on a bed where each was assaulted by the men. Authorities say the woman suppressed the memories for years, but came forward to Independence police in mid-August with accusations of sexual torment that ran between 1988 – when she was 5 years old – and 1995 – when she had an abortion. Five other alleged victims have since come forward.