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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Amish man accused of sex crimes

  • An Amish man has admitted to raping one girl and is accused of sexually abusing four others in what authorities say were assaults that may have started a decade ago.

     


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  • An Amish man has admitted to raping one girl and is accused of sexually abusing four others in what authorities say were assaults that may have started a decade ago.
    Twenty-six-year-old Chester A. Mast of Curryville is charged with two counts of felony statutory rape, two counts of felony statutory sodomy and one count of felony sexual misconduct involving a child.
    Pike County Sheriff’s Detective Sean Flynn wrote in a probable cause statement that Mast during an interview “admitted to having sex with (one victim) twice during the timeframe she lived with his family.” The girl was under age 17.
    Mast also admitted to Flynn that he had the girl masturbate him and performed oral sex on her.
    In a separate statement, also written by Flynn, Mast admitted he masturbated in front of a girl who was under age 15.
    The suspect told Flynn he “needed to do it” but “indicated he doesn’t know why he did it in her presence.”
    All of the charges stem from incidents that allegedly happened between July 1, 2007, and Aug. 19, 2009, but authorities said the abuse may have begun as much as 10 years ago, when Mast was still a juvenile.
    In a telephone interview Monday, Flynn said there was “a high potential for further charges to be filed as the investigation continues,” but that Mast was the only suspect.
    Sheriff Stephen Korte said the other three victims also were juveniles when the alleged abuse occurred, but that none of the five were related to the suspect.
    “This is not indicative of any widespread problem in the Amish community,” Korte said. “This was an isolated incident involving one suspect.”
    Korte said the Amish contacted his department April 19 with the allegations.
    The inquiry took almost six weeks because of the delicate nature of the investigation and because authorities were thorough, he said.
    Korte was not surprised that some of the girls did not report the allegations sooner.
    “Victims of this type of crime don’t always know what’s going on or sometimes repress it until they get older,” he said.
    Three of the victims are Amish and two are not. Two of the Amish and one non-Amish live in Pike County. Another non-Amish girl relocated to Southwest Missouri and one Amish girl now lives in Central Wisconsin.
    The prosecutor in Waushara County, Wis. had issued a criminal warrant for Mast.
    Court records show that Mast’s only previous problem with the law in Missouri was when he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disposing of wildlife illegally in 2007 in Pike County and was fined $249.50.
    Mast was being held Monday in the Pike County Jail at Bowling Green on $100,000 cash-only bond.
    Page 2 of 2 - A counsel status hearing is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday in Pike County Associate Circuit Court.
    Korte said Mast was “definitely not a typical member” of the Amish community in Pike County, and said his department has had “very few” problems with the Amish.
    “It’s unfortunate that...humans sometimes do things that are wrong,” Korte said. “It’s not limited to any social, economic or religious (group). It can happen anywhere. You can’t fault one group because of the actions of one person.”
    There are an estimated 65 to 70 Amish families in Pike County. Most live in the Curryville area west of Bowling Green.
    An exact number is not known because members belong to an older order that shuns modern conveniences such as cars, telephones and electricity.
    They speak German and English, and use horse and buggy, kerosene lamps and gasoline-powered machinery.
    According to the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia, the Amish came to Pike County in 1947 from Jay County, Indiana.
    A church was organized the following February. Ten years later, the congregation was divided into two districts, one with 55 members and the other with 68 members.
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