Self-proclaimed pastor faces trial for sexual abuse charges
A self-proclaimed pastor from rural Neosho will face a trial on two felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor Monday, while six counts of possession of child pornography have been refiled.
Randall “Danny” Russell, 49, pastor of Acts II Church, was bound over on two Class B felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor during a preliminary hearing held Monday morning in Newton County Associate Circuit Court Judge Greg Stremel’s courtroom.
Because a witness from the forensic laboratory that reportedly found pornographic photos of children on Russell’s computer was unavailable, six Class D felony charges of possession of child pornography were dropped, but then refiled later Monday.
The Class B felony charges carry a penalty range of five to 15 years in prison. The penalty range for each of the Class D felony counts is up to five years in prison.
Russell also faces a count of second-degree statutory rape, two counts of first-degree statutory sodomy, six counts of second-degree statutory sodomy, a count of felony child abuse, two felony counts of child molestation, and a misdemeanor charge of child molestation. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges.
The case has been moved to McDonald County on a change of venue.
A motion hearing has been set for Oct. 31 in McDonald County Circuit Court. A jury trial has been slated to begin Dec. 16.
Allegations of child sexual abuse first came to light after an April 29, raid by the Newton County Sheriff’s Department at the church, which is also the site of Russell’s business, Garages & More, and his home.
Three women have testified during a preliminary hearing that he molested, sodomized, or raped them when they were under age.
Neosho Daily News