MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 27, 2013

Church elder to be charged in 30-year-old sex crime case

By Jeanne LeFlore
CNHI

— McALESTER — A McAlester church elder  was charged Tuesday for allegedly molesting three children more than 30 years ago, according to McAlester Police Det. Sgt. Chris Morris.

Ronald H. Lawrence,76, of McAlester was charged in Pittsburg County Court with 19 felony counts including forcible oral sodomy, lewd molestation, forcible oral sodomy and rape by instrumentation involving two preteen girls and one 5-year-old boy between 1977 to 1982.

The affidavit states one female was allegedly molested from the time she was 8 until she was 13. A second female alleged she was molested by Lawrence between the ages of 10 and 13, and a male alleged he was molested at the age of 5.

Included in court documents filed Tuesday are allegations that Lawrence confessed to the incidents to his members of his  church and the police were never notified.

And at least one of the incidents allegedly occurred in a janitor’s closet at First National Bank of McAlester, according to court records.

Lawrence, who said he was an elder in the Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall in McAlester, was arrested by McAlester police on Tuesday after three witnesses came forward this year alleging they were molested some 30 years ago, according to Morris.

If convicted of the charges against him, Lawrence faces up to life in prison.

Jeanne LeFlore writes for the McAlester News-Capital.