Former pastor sentenced for sex crimes

Monday, November 1, 2004

CARTHAGE, Mo. -- A former southwest Missouri pastor was sentenced to 15 years in prison after changing his plea to guilty on two counts of sexual abuse.

Donald Peckham, 71, former pastor of Jubilee Christian Fellowship Church in Sarcoxie, pleaded guilty last week to one count of first-degree sodomy and one count of second-degree sodomy in a plea agreement with Jasper County prosecutors.

The charges involved two victims, now young adult males, who said they were sexually molested by Peckham when they were young teens. Peckham was sentenced to 15 years in prison on the first count and seven years in prison on the second count, with the sentences running concurrently.

After Peckham's car was found abandoned behind a bookstore in Joplin in June, he was the subject of a high-profile missing-person case.

He was discovered by authorities in Texas and was brought back to Missouri where the allegations of sexual abuse surfaced.

His church removed him as minister following his arrest in July.

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