Reporter Michelle Bradford's article in today's edition describes the innocent people who have been harmed because of these allegations:
As the cases wind through courts in McDonald and Newton counties, some locals complain that bystanders have been snared into the scandal. Patti Farmer, who owns JJ's restaurant in Newton County, said everyone near Grand Valley Baptist Church North in Granby or its parishioners got a bad deal when Johnston, that congregation's pastor, was arrested. "Parents living out there had to hire lawyers and go to court to get their kids out of foster care," Farmer said. "The couple who owns the property are stuck without renters because the police ran everyone off. A lot of people are caught in the middle of this — a lot of innocent people."
Jennings said police took several children into protective custody from Hebron Road, but he wouldn't give details. They are part of an ongoing investigation, he said. Assessors records show George and Trina Carney own the 14. 9 acres on Hebron Road once occupied by the church. According to Farmer, the Carneys are stuck in a financial bind now that their renters are gone. Trina Carney said in a phone interview her lawyer told her not to talk to the media. "We own the land, yes, we own all of it," Trina Carney said. "We're the good people who've gotten caught in the middle. You don't hear about the good people who are getting screwed in all of this."
While you have to have sympathy for the landlord, the simple fact is if the allegations are true, the children suffered far worse than the landlord, and obviously, the focus of this should be on righting wrongs. The article also features the continued efforts by the attorney for Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church leaders Rev. Raymond Lambert, Patricia Lambert, Paul Epling, and Tom Epling to cast the blame on younger brother Ethan Epling:
<;blockquote>According to Evenson, Ethan Epling had moved to Florida with one of the women who is now one of Raymond Lambert's accusers.
Evenson said Ethan Epling left Robin Epling, who is disabled, behind in Missouri. Robin Epling is paralyzed from a stroke she suffered in childbirth a few years ago.
With Ethan Epling in Florida, Patty and Raymond Lambert assumed the care of Robin Epling in Missouri, Evenson said.
"When Ethan took off, and his paralyzed wife didn't know where he was, Raymond and Patty took care of her around the clock," Evenson said. "It takes good people to do that."
In May, Ethan Epling and Robin Epling's parents petitioned for her guardianship in McDonald County Circuit Court.
Then Robin Epling suddenly decided to reconcile with her estranged husband and she moved to Florida, Evenson said. Court records show Robin Epling withdrew her divorce petition in late June.
Attempts to contact Ethan Epling by phone for this article were unsuccessful.
"I feel like Ethan Epling is at the core of all this, and that there's an element of financial motivation," Evenson said, declining to elaborate further. </blockquote>