Archive for Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Former McLouth minister sentenced

November 3, 2004

A former McLouth minister last week was sentenced to 15 years in a Missouri prison, after pleading guilty to molesting teen-age boys.

On Friday, 71-year-old Donald Peckham was scheduled to appear in Jasper County (Mo.) Circuit Court in Joplin, Mo., for a motions hearing.

Instead, he pled guilty and was sentenced to seven years in prison on a charge of second-degree statutory sodomy in connection with the molestation of a 14-year-old boy in May 1996. He also pled guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison on a charge of sodomy in connection with the molestation of a 13-year-old boy in September 1992.

Circuit Judge Jon Dermott ruled that the sentences run concurrent with one another.

According to Joplin, Mo., newspaper accounts, Peckham was minister at the Methodist Church in McLouth prior to the union of the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren denominations. In 1973, he moved to Sarcoxie, Mo. The Joplin newspaper accounts say that since Peckham's arrest, leaders of the United Methodist Church in Kansas have said they also investigated allegations that Peckham sexually abused children while serving at four Kansas churches from 1958 to 1972.

His church, which removed him as minister after his arrest, reportedly has been struggling to stay intact, with Peckham's wife, Lorraine, conducting services in recent weeks.

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