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No Contest Plea in Kansas Church Abuse


No Contest Plea in Kansas Church Abuse

Associated Press/November 14, 2003

Kansas City, Kan. -- Five members of a church accused of binding and gagging children as punishment have pleaded no contest to reduced charges of attempted child abuse, prosecutors said Friday. One child died after being wrapped head-to-toe in duct tape.

The five women entered their pleas between Oct. 31 and Friday, said Wyandotte County District Attorney Nick Tomasic. They could face up to three years in prison on each count of attempted child abuse. They were originally charged with child abuse. No sentencing date was set.

The boy who died, Brian Edgar, was the 9-year-old adoptive son of the church's pastors, Neil Edgar Sr. and Christy Edgar.

In September, a jury found Neil Edgar Sr., 48, and baby sitter Chasity Boyd, 20, guilty of first-degree murder and child abuse over Brian's death. Edgar's wife, Christy, pleaded guilty earlier that month to the same charges.

All three face mandatory sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole for 20 years, and could face additional time on the child abuse charges. Sentencing in that case is set for Wednesday.

Brian Edgar died at the family's home in Johnson County, allowing murder charges to be filed there. The church, God's Creation Outreach Ministry, is located in Wyandotte County, and five church members all live in the county.

The five church members were accused of abusing the Edgar's three adopted children, including Brian, and a 12-year-old boy who knew the family.

Renita Allen-Jackson and Barbara Clark pleaded no contest to two counts of attempted child abuse. Neil Edgar's sister, Julia Edgar-Montgomery, Idella Horton and Patricia Walker pleaded no contest to one count of attempted child abuse. In addition to the murder charges, Christy Edgar and Boyd face abuse charges in Wyandotte County.

Members of the church disciplined the children by hogtying them and leaving them in that position overnight, Tomasic has said.

Prosecutors have said Brian Edgar was being punished for stealing cookies Dec. 29 when he was wrapped in duct tape with only his nose uncovered. He was left overnight and suffocated on his own vomit.

2003 Nov 14