KANSAS CITY — Family members who accused Burrell Mohler Sr. and four of his sons of molesting them more than 25 years ago have less than a month to turn over physical and mental health records if they want to have their stories heard in court.
Clay County Circuit Judge Larry Harman said this week that repeated delays in the trials of all five men have been caused by the reluctance of the men's accusers to turn over records attorneys on both sides contend are critical to their cases.
"This Court is advised that certain witnesses have either been reluctant, and in some cases have refused, to cooperate with the discovery requests and orders entered," Harman wrote Wednesday in an order denying defense motions to dismiss the charges against one of the defendants. "This court finds that the discovery delays have virtually all been caused by the reluctance, or refusal, of the endorsed state witnesses to comply with requests and orders."
The accusers — all siblings — told The Associated Press in a statement earlier this month they want to tell the court what happened to them and that they are providing the records.
In his order, Harman set a March 21 deadline for all of the required records to be turned over.
"Failure to provide the ordered information will result in an order excluding the testimony of any witness who has not fully cooperated," he wrote.
Defense attorneys have argued that if the accusers really suffered the abuse they claim — including pregnancies, forced abortions and bestiality — there would be health records detailing injuries the children sustained. Instead, the attorneys contend the alleged victims met with a counselor who somehow convinced them they had been molested.
The attorneys have requested a list of physical and mental health care providers for at least five of the siblings — including one whose claims are outside the statute of limitations — and comprehensive health records going back to when they were small children.
The siblings initially said they didn't want to turn over their deeply personal information because they were afraid it would be leaked to the public. They cited several instances in which their names, and in some case their addresses, showed up in public court documents as the basis for their resistance.
Those fears have been eased somewhat with the appointment late last year of Discovery Judge Michael Maloney to review the records and decide what should be provided to attorneys. Since he issued a mid-December order for discovery, Maloney has received thousands of pages of health records from some of the alleged victims, but not all.
At least four of the accusers claim they were sexually abused over a number of years, starting in the early 1980s, by the Mohler patriarch and his sons Burrell Jr., David, Jared and Roland, on a farm 30 miles east of Kansas City. Those men, and Burrell Mohler Sr.'s brother Darrel, were arrested in November 2009 on dozens of Lafayette County charges.
Darrel Mohler died in September at his Florida home at the age of 74 while awaiting trial.
The accusers said they didn't remember until 2008 many of the sadistic acts they claim the older men committed decades earlier.
Meanwhile, another trial has been pushed back because of the discovery issue. Burrell Mohler Sr., who was released last week after more than two years behind bars, had been scheduled to go to trial in April, but that has been taken off the docket.
Next in line is the trial for Burrell Mohler Jr., scheduled for May 15 in Pettis County.