KANSAS CITY — Lafayette County prosecutor Kellie Wingate Campbell on Wednesday said she was dismissing all charges against five men accused of sexually molesting young relatives on a western Missouri farm more than 20 years ago.
"This was a highly unusual series of cases, and the outcome should not deter other victims of crime from reporting those crimes," she said after notifying courts in three counties of her action.
Six members of the Mohler family — Burrell Sr.; his sons Burrell Jr., David, Jared — from Columbia — and Roland; and his brother, Darrel — were arrested in November 2009 after several young family members told investigators about a series of bizarre sex crimes that allegedly took place on a Lafayette County farm, about 30 miles east of Kansas City.
Two of the men, Burrell Mohler Sr. and Burrell Mohler Jr., spent more than two years behind bars before being freed on bond in recent weeks. In September, Darrel Mohler, 74, died in his sleep at his home in Florida.
Defense attorneys had increasingly argued that unfair trial delays were caused by the accusers' reluctance to turn over deeply personal medical and mental health records, as ordered by a judge.
The alleged victims didn't want to relinquish the records because of fears their private information would be made public. The appointment late last year of a special discovery judge to review the records before they were turned over to attorneys seemed to ease those concerns.
Allegations against the men included that the elder Mohler, an ordained minister, conducted wedding ceremonies in which young girls were "married" to older relatives so they could have sex.