Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More sordid details about Granby-area pastor emerge in Globe article

A few more of the seamy details revealed during Granby-area pastor George Otis Johnston's preliminary hearing Monday in Newton County Circuit Court on felony statutory sodomy charges are revealed in Jeff Lehr's article in today's Joplin Globe.


Anonymous said...

I’m starting to get confused by this story.

I read the John Ford and the Jeff Lehr articles that Randy cited in his last couple of posts and both stories talk about a 17 year old girl and her 20 year old sister reporting past abuse.

However, I have read in some of the past posts from readers who say things like “70 some people cannot be wrong when most of them come forward and tell their stories.”

So, I was under the impression that there were multiple victims from various families from within this church, is that true or is it just these two sisters?

Also, other articles I have read talked about “ritual abuse.” However, my reading of the testimony reported in Lehr and Ford’s articles were that the girls were alone with the defendant when they say these acts happened.

So, where are these ritual activity accusations coming from? Are there other accusers who will testify as to these ritual accusations? Is Johnston being accused of being part of some criminal group activity or is that only the other defendants?

The family structure of the people involved also confuse me. In the John Ford article it states that the girl said:

“she was threatened that if she filed charges against Johnston, he would ‘do all he could to dig up dirt’ against her and members of her family.”


“Johnston is the step-father of her mother's ex-husband, the woman said.”

However, in the Jeff Lehr article it states that: “The girl explained under direct examination by Assistant Prosecutor Bill Dobbs that her mother was having an affair with Johnston at the time.”

So, are they saying that Johnston was having an affair with his step-son’s wife who was also the mother of the kids he is accused of molesting?

If that’s the case, it sort of begs the question of what dirt was Johnston going to dig up about accuser’s family? I suppose he could leak that her mother was having an affair with her step-father-in-law . . . of course, that would be him.

I also found interesting the article Derek Spellman wrote in the Joplin Globe (which Randy cited on September 3rd). As best I can tell from Spellman’s article, before the molestation accusations started there was a legal battle over the custody of Robin Epling (who was disabled) between Ethan Epling (her husband) and Patricia Lambert (who is Ethan’s brother). Eventually, Ethan got custody of Robin and their two children and moved to Florida. Then later, Patricia and her husband (and step-brother) Raymond and two of Ethan’s brothers were accused of molestation along with Johnston.

The fact that Spellman’s article talks about Ethan moving to Florida is interesting because Jeff Lehr’s article states the 17 year old accuser testified that she moved to Florida with her sister in April before returning to Southwest Missouri in late July or early August. Again, going back to Spellman’s article it states that Ethan left the compound in late April 2006. So, since the time of the moves and the destination are the same, I would think that there is a relationship between Ethan and the 17 and 20 year old girls accusers.

Assuming the articles are reporting the facts correctly (and I should say that I don’t know anyone involved, so all I know is what I read), then the defendants are a unique collection of oddballs to say the least and at worst they are evil monsters.

Still, before I would convict them I would like to know if all of the accusations emanate from members of the Ethan Epling side of the Robin Epling guardianship dispute.

Anonymous said...

First of all, LET ME SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. The person who wrote the previous comment should not rely completely upon the newspapers for their information. Most of the "facts" that this person has stated are NOT TRUE. The 17 year old girl involved in this case DID NOT go to Florida in April. The 20 year old sister did, along with her husband, and her husband's cousin and wife. It was only later that the 17 year old sister went to Florida TO BE WITH HER ONLY SIBLING THAT LEFT THE GRANBY COMPOUND. It is my understanding that she went to Florida to be with her sister because she did not want to have any dealings with George Johnston and his sickening "gospel." For another thing, these two sisters are not the only women that have come forward on this case....George Johnston and his nephew Raymond Lambert molested dozens of women and girls and called it "their gospel." They truly believe that they are Jesus incarnated, therefore they can do anything they want to anyone they want. There are many more people who have come forward on the cases against George Johnston and RAymond Lambert. Don't believe that these girls are the only ones. As far as the ritual sex is concerned, George would preach to "his women" that they would remain pure and a virgin if they would have sex with him. He would preach to the young girls in the church that if they would have sex with him before anyone else, then they would remain a virgin forever. As far as Ethan Epling and Robin Epling are concerned, I don't understand how these two people are even involved. I believe that Ethan and Robin did move to Florida, as with a few other people that lived on the McDonald County compound. The other people that left happened to be the 20 year old sister and her HUSBAND. Perhaps that is why the 17 year old went to Florida too? Doesn't seem all that strange to me. For another thing, more than 70 people left the McDonald County compound, and more than 40 people left the Newton county compound...both police departments have all of the names of the people who left. Most of them will be subpoena to testify in court about the compound that they lived in. Get the story straight: the EVIL ones here are the sickening molesters that hurt so many innocent young children and women for so many years. These people ARE EVIL. The reason so many people fled both compounds was because what these molesters were doing to these people were wrong. I don't blame anybody a bit for leaving. If it were me, I would go as far away as possible from that hell...(oh, yeah, Florida is pretty far away from there). So before you start making accusations, get the story straight. There are victims here. Many, many people were hurt by these people. That is the FACT OF THE MATTER. The case that we are dealing with involves Raymond Lambert, Patty Lambert (who happens to be Ethan's HALF SISTER, not brother) Tom Epling, Paul Epling,(which are also Ethan's HALF BROTHERS) and George Johnston. Get the facts straight.

Anonymous said...

I just read both comments from others on this website: whoever wrote the first comment sounds like someone in the defense of the molestors....possible someone still left on one of the compounds? Or maybe an attorney for these bastards? Well, at least that's what is sounds like to me. Whoever wrote the first comment, I can say that YOU DEFINITELY HAVE THE FACTS WRONG. You are reading the newspaper and watching the television, or perhaps you are getting some twisted information from the child molestors themselves....what you read and see in the media cannot necessarily be counted as valuable information. You need to hear some of the HORRIFYING accounts of the victims themselves before you can truly understand the magnitude of this case. We are talking about men who've RAPED 5 year old little girls. We are talking about people who told women and girls that THEY WOULD GO TO HELL if they did not "surrender their bodies to God." Get with the damn program. You need to realize a few things about this case before you start making any FALSE ACCUSATIONS ABOUT THE VICTIMS INVOLVED.

Anonymous said...

Bob, is that you??

Anonymous said...

These victims need to file complaints and press charges against these knotheads. That's the only way you'll get these creeps behind bars. I've heard there are a number of people out there that this happened to, but only two girls have filed charges. Talk to the deputies! These people are sick and need to be locked away. They really ought to be taken out and shot, if there was any justice in the world.

Anonymous said...

I’m sorry, I guess I missed where I made any accusations against anyone in my comments. I simply quoted directly from the newspaper articles Turner cited and expressed some confusion over what they said vs. other comments I have read. Now, I would be shocked, shocked to hear that reporters sometimes get their facts wrong. However, I said at the end of my first comment that all I knew was what I have read and qualified my comments accordingly.

My point was (and is) that this case has gotten a lot of attention here and elsewhere but I still can’t tell from what I have read how all of these defendants are tied together and how many people they are alleged to have abused.

In fairness, I’m sure the reporters probably don’t know all the answers yet, which is why they haven’t reported them. Still, it would seem to me that more energy and ink could be devoted to those types of issues rather then bashing the judge, the defense attorney, the prosecuting attorney and the American system of jurisprudence in general.

Now if it makes you feel good to think that anyone who says anything you don’t like must be part of the Johnston defense team or a pedophile fellow traveler then by all means knock yourself out. All I can say is what I have already stated, which is that I have no connection with either side of this case but, as I said, if it makes you happy to think otherwise then be my guest.

Anonymous said...

Well i just read these comments, and it sounded like the person who wrote that long boring comment, didnt know what the hell they were talking about. Evidently they arent reading the same paper as everyone else or watching the same tv channel everyone else is either. To my knowledge more than two of the victoms have come forward, you need to know what your talking about before you open your pie hole. And i think naming people that are trying to get on with there life is very sad. Whoever you are you should have a little remorse for the people that had guts enough to get as far as they could from this. And im sorry but you do sound like you are one of the people that are on that compound or believe in there religion. Please keep your personal beliefs to yourself.

Anonymous said...

This story is confusing.....gets a little more understanding if you went to school with the Eplings and Raymond Lambert. Funny thing is that when they went to school I recall Patty and Raymond called themselves cousins. Odd bunch for sure.
I think the whole thing is a ball of a mess and will take years and many people coming to their senses (judges AND prosecutors in McDonald County included)and standing up for the victims who will have the scars for the rest of their lives!

Anonymous said...

To the 6:48 poster, what personal belief’s are you referring too, my belief that the defendants sound like “a unique collection of oddballs to say the least and at worst they are evil monsters”?

Do you disagree with that?

I’m sorry you found my post boring, maybe it would have been more entertaining if I filled it ad hominem attacks on other posters or was more free in my use of capital letters.

You said “to my knowledge more than two of the victoms [I think you meant “victims”] have come forward.” What’s your source? If it’s in the public domain I’ll read it. I am a big believer in making the effort to form opinions based on proven facts rather then snap judgements based on emotion and popularity.

Anonymous said...

To the "1:16 Poster"-Thank you so much for being so mature in correcting a simple typo of mine-its nice to know that there are people as mature as you in the world to perfect everybody's mistakes.

All I have to say is that I've been up on the McDonald County Compound on three occasions, twice in which I personally witnessed illegal activity happening with minors. Oh, and the reason I know that the two girls were not the only ones to come forward is because I gave my statement to the McDonald county police on this matter about 3 months ago. It is just now that all of the ties are coming together and people are starting to see the big picture of this place. For another thing, I know for a fact that the victims of these terrible crimes DO NOT appreciate their names being posted on various websites across the internet. It would be nice if everyone who is following this case could have a little respect for those involved and keep their names and opinions out of the picture. These are real people involved, not a sitcom or a soap opera on television in which you can gossip about those involved. Have some respect for those who've went on with their lives and are trying to put all of this terrible situation behind them.