Skip to main content

'Unbelievable': Men's arrests on sex charges stun neighbor, co-workers

Five of the Mohlers appear in court in Lafayette County, Missouri, after their arrests. A sixth was arrested Friday in Florida.
Five of the Mohlers appear in court in Lafayette County, Missouri, after their arrests. A sixth was arrested Friday in Florida.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Six men have been charged on sexual abuse allegations dating back to mid-1980s
  • Neighbor of suspect David Mohler calls the allegations "absolutely unbelievable"
  • The sixth family member was arrested Friday at his Florida home
  • Three of the men are lay ministers with the Community of Christ organization

(CNN) -- A man who for 20 years has lived near one of six men accused of sexually abusing young relatives said he finds the allegations "absolutely unbelievable."

Bob Ramsey, a retired Graceland University chemistry professor and David Mohler's neighbor in Lamoni, Iowa, said he knows most of the Mohler family.

Burrell Edward Mohler Sr., 77, and his sons Burrell Edward Mohler Jr., 53; David A. Mohler, 52; Jared Leroy Mohler, 48; and Roland Neil Mohler, 47, were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of sexually abusing children.

A sixth family member, Darrel Wayne Mohler, 72, was arrested Friday as he pulled into the driveway of his Silver Springs, Florida home. Darrel Mohler, the younger brother of Burrell Edward Mohler Sr., is being held in jail in Marion County, Florida, charged with two counts of rape in a Missouri arrest warrant.

The six alleged victims -- all now adults -- came to law enforcement authorities with stories of sexual performances, mock weddings, rape with various objects and a forced abortion during their childhoods, according to court documents obtained by CNN affiliate KSHB in Kansas City, Missouri.

None of the accused in the case has entered a plea and it's unclear whether they have legal counsel.

"David was one of the kindest people I know in this town," Ramsey said. "I find it absolutely unbelievable. That's my honest opinion."

Ramsey said he and Burrell Edward Mohler Sr., 77, attended college together 50 years ago. Ramsey said he spent a lot of time with the family because his wife had taught piano to two family members.

"They were in and out of our home quite a bit, and there was absolutely never any indication of abuse," he said.

Video: Police dig for buried jars
Video: Forced beastiality allegations
RELATED TOPICS

The employer of one of the suspects said, "Everybody is still in shock ... disbelief," as news of the arrests spread through communities where several of the suspects live in western Missouri.

"He was a good medic," Corbin Allred said of Roland Mohler, who has been employed at Saline County Ambulance District No. 3 since 2006. Mohler has been suspended, Allred said, and further action may be taken at the next board meeting.

Allred described Roland Mohler as outgoing and said, "He blends in with everybody else."

Roland Mohler was on duty when Missouri State Highway Patrol officers arrested him, Allred said.

Paramedic Sharon Roscher was also shocked about allegations that one of their own could be involved in something so horrific.

"You eat, you sleep, you do everything with people for 48 hours," she said. "Oh my gosh, it's just a shock."

Roland Mohler's father, Burrell Edward Mohler Sr., also worked for a time in emergency services as a firefighter in Independence, Missouri, the fire department confirmed. A spokesman would not comment further.

Burrell Mohler Sr., David Mohler and Jared Mohler are lay ministers in the Community of Christ, the organization said.

"Leaders and members of the Community of Christ in the greater Kansas City area are prayerfully upholding those families that are touched by the recent arrests of five members of the Mohler family," the statement said.

Lay ministers are volunteers who do not receive compensation, and none of the three served in leadership roles or worked with children, according to the organization, which is based in Independence, Missouri.

"We have a very strict code of ethics when it comes to the safety of our youth," said the organization's spokeswoman, Linda Booth.

Burrell Mohler Sr. did go through the group's registered youth worker program, but "his youth worker registration has been terminated and we understand he had no contact with children or youth in church programs," the church said.

Some lay ministers might help take care of the church, Booth said, while others might speak at services.

They were in and out of our home quite a bit, and there was absolutely never any indication of abuse.
--Bob Ramsey, neighbor of David A. Mohler in Lamoni, Iowa

"Immediately, I went to the rolls and had their priesthoods suspended because that's what we do in the Community of Christ when there's any word of something like this. We suspend their priesthoods," Booth said, referring to a church designation for male members.

"If this goes to trial and they are convicted, then they will be what we call silenced, and they can no longer represent the church in any way," Booth said.

The Community of Christ is an offshoot of the modern-day Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It split off from the Mormon church in the 1800s, and in 2000 changed its name to Community of Christ from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"I personally feel grief for these families, all the families that are involved in this," Booth said. "I feel concern for the congregations." She said she is also "concerned about the greater church, the Community of Christ who represents nations and communities based in love and peace and joy."

CNN's Mallory Simon contributed to this report.

Lawyers.com Lexis Nexis Logo

Law firm search