Kenneth Neal Allen, 36, former pastor of Grace Apostolic Church in East Prairie, pleaded guilty Jan. 10 to two counts of first-degree child molestation in Scott County, where he had been given a change of venue, according to a news release from Mississippi County Sheriff Keith Moore.
Allen was accused of inviting children into his home in East Prairie and molesting them. After an investigation by the sheriff's department, Allen was arrested May 8 and has remained in custody since then.
Allen used his position as a leader of the church to gain the trust of the juvenile victims and their parents, Moore said.
Allen's wife Beth Allen was arrested May 14 and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. She was released on bond and awaits judicial hearings on her pending charges.
"This case had a huge impact on the citizens of Mississippi County," Moore said. "It is tragic when any child is abused in any manner, but the situation intensifies when the abuser is a person who is to be trusted and respected by the community."
The sheriff said by accepting a plea bargain and 11 years in prison, Allen avoided a jury trial.
East Prairie, Mo.