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Thread: Amish Tried to Heal Accused Child Molester Before Turning Him In

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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Default Amish Tried to Heal Accused Child Molester Before Turning Him In

    A troubled young man from this remote stretch of eastern Missouri, Chester Mast had traveled north in the summer of 2004 to stay with his extended family in Wisconsin. Mr. Mast, a member of a conservative Amish community here that eschews conveniences like electricity and telephones, was meant to apprentice with his uncle, a carpenter.
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    Pike County Sheriff's office, via Associated Press
    Chester Mast is suspected of assaulting six girls over 10 years.

    His uncle opened his home to the young man but, according to court documents, soon began having doubts about Mr. Mast. The uncle later told investigators that while traveling in Michigan he had observed his nephew, then 20, place his arm around his 13-year-old daughter. In the evenings back in Wisconsin, Mr. Mast and his cousins would open the windows and play cards in his bedroom. And it was there, investigators allege, that as the frogs croaked one summer night, the girl complained of a pain in her stomach.
    “Chester convinced her that he could take her stomachache away,” James Small, a detective with the Waushara County Sheriff’s Department, reported in Wisconsin court filings. He asked her to lie on his stomach, the probable cause statement said. “She recalled being on top of him in his bedroom and that he ultimately penetrated her.”

    These are but a few of the accusations that Mr. Mast, now 26, faces in a pair of sexual-assault cases that stretch between two states. The criminal charges, a rarity for a religious congregation that often resolves its disputes internally, offer an unusual glimpse into an Amish community in crisis. They have also laid bare the fault lines that divide this insular society that resides some 95 miles northwest of St. Louis.
    “There is no gray area — people are either 100 percent for Chester, or they are 100 percent against him,” said Sgt. Sean Flynn, a detective with the Sheriff’s Department here in Pike County. “Some people are holding it against some of the victims and their families for what they’ve done to Chester; some people think it should have happened a lot sooner. There’s really no middle ground.”
    Mr. Mast, who is married with two children and another on the way, stands accused in Wisconsin of incest and the repeated sexual assault of a minor. Meanwhile, officials here have charged him with two counts each of statutory rape and sodomy and one count of sexual misconduct involving a child. Investigators claim that Mr. Mast has victimized at least six girls, ages 5 to 15 — including some outside the Amish community — over the last 10 years.
    “There is still the thought that there are other victims out there,” said Sergeant Flynn, the lead investigator in Missouri.
    Mr. Mast, who last week pleaded not guilty to the charges here, declined an interview request. He is jailed on a $100,000 bond in Pike County, where his trial is set to begin on Dec. 15.

    Since their arrival here in the 1940s, the Amish of Pike County have eked out an existence amid this area’s network of gravel roads and rusting cornfields. Theirs is a deeply private world, conducted mainly in a dialect of German, whose members travel by horse-and-buggy and support their families by working as butchers, farmers and cabinetmakers. As an “Old Order Amish” community, they are among the most conservative of their kind.
    The roughly 70 families in this settlement are divided into three congregations, or churches, which are in turn led by bishops — lay members of the congregation who typically have no theological training. Social roles are clearly defined here, and transgressions are swiftly punished, either with the back of a hand, or in more serious matters, with excommunication and ritual shunning.
    “We tried to work with it ourselves,” said Joseph Wagler, the bishop for a neighboring church. “We punished him, and he owned up to it. We put him away from the church, as a community.”
    Community members say that in an effort to cure Mr. Mast of his affliction, they excommunicated him on three occasions: in 2004 when he returned from Wisconsin amid accusations that he had raped his cousin; and again in 2009, when new revelations surfaced of his alleged sexual misconduct. The third excommunication came this year, when after a tortuous internal debate, the community appealed to law enforcement.
    “We seen this coming for years,” said Noah Schwartz, another of Mr. Mast’s uncles. “The church worked desperately to get behind him, but it was a lost cause. I don’t think we realized the seriousness of the crimes.”

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    Patrick Fallon for The New York Times
    Chester Mast, who lives in Bowling Green, Mo., has been excommunicated and shunned.

    Mr. Schwartz added that unlike most Amish children — who are often raised with many siblings — Chester Mast was adopted at 5 days old and raised as an only child, mollycoddled by his parents. Mr. Mast’s father, Albert Mast, declined an interview request on behalf of the family.
    “This was a boy who had no discipline,” Mr. Schwartz said. “He didn’t respect authority. That’s why he’s behind bars.”
    Community members described Mr. Mast as unsettled and spoiled. They say he talked a lot, was a teller of tall tales who longed to fit in, but who nevertheless experimented with alcohol, could not keep a job and had repeatedly threatened suicide.
    “I felt he was never really converted and born again,” said David Eicher, echoing the sentiment of many here. “Maybe that was the base of his problems. But anyone would welcome him back to the church if he would repent and be honest.”
    Donald B. Kraybill, a professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, said that instead of viewing psychological problems as a form of psychosis or addiction, the Amish often see them as a sign of spiritual failing.
    “Some Amish communities aren’t fully aware that a psychological disorder may be underlying devious behavior,” said Professor Kraybill, who has written many books on the Amish. “They may sometimes confuse this kind of an addiction — like an alcohol addiction or a sexual addiction — with a spiritual or moral weakness. They think that if the person confesses the sin, and we bring them back into the church, and they pray about it, everything is going to be O.K.”

    Community members say they find it particularly galling, then, that Mr. Mast has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. They say he has confessed his sins to them as part of his ritual reconciliation with the church, and that so long as he maintains his innocence, he is not Amish.
    “Chester is lying, and that’s worse than the sex crimes, because no sin is so bad that you can’t recognize it and take total responsibility,” said Mr. Schwartz, 60, as he traveled by horse-and-buggy to buy milk from a neighbor. “We’re concerned that Chester is honest, not how many years he gets. If he lies and gets out of prison, then he’s still a prisoner to his own self.”
    Until recently, church leaders had been paying regular visits to Mr. Mast, giving him spiritual counsel and advising him to plead guilty. (Though Mr. Mast is officially excommunicated and shunned by the church, there are ritual means by which church members can communicate with him, essentially shaming him with reminders that he has broken his baptismal vows and urging him to return to the fold.)
    “Telling the truth and being honest is a fundamental virtue of Amish faith, and he is directly violating the teachings of Jesus if he is lying,” Professor Kraybill said. “That’s a very serious moral offense for them.”
    The elders’ visits came to an abrupt end recently when Mr. Mast’s public defender, Lisa Morrow, prohibited them. Ms. Morrow says she banned the elders after learning they had been sharing important information about the case.
    “The legal system doesn’t care about your religious beliefs,” she said. “When it comes to time in prison, I have to look out for my client.”
    Her decision has rankled many Amish, who say that by persuading Mr. Mast to plead not guilty, Ms. Morrow is endangering him.
    “The public defender is no help to him,” said Mr. Wagler, 38, while taking a break from baling hay in his barn. “She’s keeping him from being honest. If he’s going to act like this and not admit it in court, he’s still going to have to answer to God.”
    As Wisconsin officials wait for Missouri to first prosecute Mr. Mast, many in his community say he should take his punishment and come back to the church.
    “I would say that 95 percent of the people in this community think he’s where he needs to be,” Mr. Schwartz said. “He’s at the bottom, but how can you build a house if you don’t start from the bottom?”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/03/us...1&pagewanted=2

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Well, all that shaming and excommunication stuff works really well, now don't it?
    Life is short. Break the Rules. Forgive Quickly. Kiss Slowly. Love Truly.
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    Elite Member sprynkles's Avatar
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    Chester the molester. Lock him up and let him get his just desserts.
    He sure has non-Amish sculpted eyebrows.

    "A massive penis means never having to say you're sorry". Mo

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    Gold Member Little Goon's Avatar
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    Chester the molester. Ewwwwwwwww.

    How bad do you suck when the Amish don't want anything to do with your nasty ass. I say fry him.
    I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions -- but I don't always agree with them. - George W. Bush

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    Elite Member DeChayz's Avatar
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    “Chester is lying, and that’s worse than the sex crimes..."
    Oh yes, raping your underage cousin pales in comparison.

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    Gold Member BigBen's Avatar
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    Oh come on! Did he have to be from Missouri!? (Remember that one case, something about cops shooting a dog in LaGrange? That's really close to Bowling Green.) This is just so disheartening because a fair chunk of this state is seriously awesome.

    I'm pretty horrified about what he did and the Amish slant is weird, but I don't really know what to say about all that so I'll just stick to my Missouri-apologist rhetoric instead.
    "Not only do we embrace it, we take it out for drinks, get it absolutely steaming drunk, leg hump it and then leave it covered in shaving foam and a stolen Chuck E Cheese outfit in its own bath with no recollection of how it got there." -Kittylady on the sad and pathetic and strange.

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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeChayz View Post
    Oh yes, raping your underage cousin pales in comparison.
    Not to some people. I've run across people who are into the whole degrees of sin thing before, and lying is a pretty bad one on the sin scale. Now I have Tom Lehrer's Irish Ballad in my head.
    As Canadian as possible under the circumstances

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    Gold Member Little Goon's Avatar
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    ^ I love Tom Lehrer!

    This must be what's stuck in your head, eh?

    And when at last the police came by,
    Sing rickety-tickety-tin,
    And when at last the police came by,
    Her little pranks she did not deny,
    To do so she would have had to lie,
    And lying, she knew, was a sin, a sin,
    Lying, she knew, was a sin.

    Every time someone mentions the Audubon society I get Poisoning Pigeons in the Park running in my head for hours.

    We've gained notoriety,
    And caused much anxiety
    In the Audubon Society
    With our games.
    They call it impiety,
    And lack of propriety,
    And quite a variety
    Of unpleasant names.
    But it's not against any religion
    To want to dispose of a pigeon.
    I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions -- but I don't always agree with them. - George W. Bush

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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Yep. Great stuff. The music that made me who I am today.
    As Canadian as possible under the circumstances

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    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    By healing did he mean castration?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Goon View Post
    Chester the molester. Ewwwwwwwww.

    Sick, but funny.

    One of my favorite books is A Prayer for Owen Meaney. One of its characters has the nickname Hester the Molester.

    My favorite Tom Lehrer song is "Who's Next?" with the line "We'll try to stay serene and calm, when Alabama gets the bomb", which could be changed these days to "...when Rush Limbaugh gets the bomb" or "...when Sarah Palin gets the bomb"
    Tea baggers want to fight the Man because the Man doesn't look like them.

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    Silver Member Popsicle's Avatar
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    How bad is it when the Amish admit defeat of traditional ways and resort to using modern prosecution?!

    Let's not hope it was something to do with lashings, that might have been where their own jurisdiction went wrong.

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    I have to say this story makes me very sad. I think it must have been very painful for the Amish community to admit defeat and turn this guy in.
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greysfang View Post
    I have to say this story makes me very sad. I think it must have been very painful for the Amish community to admit defeat and turn this guy in.
    I'm with you. It's sad, they usually handle their own problems rather than relying on the public judicial system and it must have been an incredible defeat. And it says alot about Chester, Chester, child molester....
    Kill him.
    Kill her.
    Kill It.
    Kill everything... that IS the solution!
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