[FS_Discussion] Molestation charges shock Miss. town

freespeech@theinbox.org freespeech@theinbox.org
8 Jun 2001 03:30:16 -0000


Molestation charges shock Miss. town
By RALPH D. RUSSO
Associated Press Writer
	   
	   JAYESS, Miss. (AP) - On a grassy meadow next to grazing horses,
a large sign proclaims the Valley of the Kings to travelers passing
along the only paved road in this southwest Mississippi town.
	   But two smaller, handmade signs just outside a wood fence and
nearby red brick church let uninvited guests know they are not
welcome at the religious enclave these days.
	   Church members posted the ``PRIVATE'' and ``KEEP OUT'' signs
after the group's self-appointed pastor was arrested in March,
accused of molesting a 14-year-old boy.
	   ``Charges like these tend to shock a quiet, small county like
ours,'' Sheriff Duane Dillon said.
	   Valley of the Kings Church patriarch David Earl King, 66, and
Nathan Paul King, 32, believed to be King's adopted son, were
indicted in April on charges of sexual battery, conspiracy to
commit sexual battery and contributing to the delinquency of a
minor.
	   Last week, David King's defense attorneys filed motions asking
for a change of venue and requested he be tried separately from
Nathan King.
	   A third man, Gary Lynn Bates, 21, of Denham Springs, La., has
been arrested on related charges. All three have pleaded innocent.
	   David King called the charges ``all lies'' as he was led out of
his bond hearing. Lawyers for King and Bates have refused to
comment.
	   The 14-year-old's parents claim the Kings sexually abused their
son and threatened to castrate him if he spoke of it, Dillon said.
	   The indictment includes a second possible victim, identified as
an 11-year-old boy who alleges Nathan King attempted to have sex
with him. Since the arrest, Dillon says at least eight people from
Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi have come forward, alleging sexual
abuse by David King and church followers. Some allegations date
back decades.
	   David King described the Valley of the Kings Church as ``an
independent holiness church'' during the hearing. But Prosecutor
Dunn Lampton called it a cult-like group, with the elder King as
its patriarch.
	   ``He's got an uncanny control over his congregation. He can tell
them to do anything and they'll do it,'' said lawyer Conrad Mord,
who has handled three previous cases involving the church.
	   David King was born in the Walthall County farming community and
returned 23 years ago as a preacher with a large family and
followers.
	   About 35 people now live on the church grounds, a 58-acre
compound with a large house and a scattering of mobile homes
flanked by elm and magnolia trees. The church basement doubles as a
school for the children.
	   The closest town is Tylertown, with one traffic light and a
population of about 1,900, about 15 miles from Louisiana's state
line.
	   Authorities say King's followers make money selling peanut
brittle door to door and, despite little interaction with the
surrounding communities, neighbor's say the group is well known.
	   ``There's always been something about that particular group''
that has drawn people's interest, said resident Sandra Peavey.
	   Some don't think highly of David King.
	   ``We were all proud he was arrested just because of the stuff we
had heard,'' said Charles L. Harvey, 64, referring to the sexual
allegations.
	   Authorities said they seized more than $100,000 in cash, several
weapons and pornographic magazines from David King's home.
	   The Kings were denied bond and remain jailed.
	   In the early 1980s, Mord said he won a custody case involving a
Louisiana boy, whose mother sent her son to school at the compound.
David King refused to return the boy, Mord said.
	   Two other boys alleged they'd been sexually abused but both
recanted, Mord said. A judge removed them from King's custody.


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