Ex-pastor one of six men indicted on child sex charges

By WENDY ISOM, February 16, 2007, The Jackson Sun
wisom@jacksonsun.com

A former Parsons pastor has been indicted on a federal charge that accuses him of using a computer to entice a minor for sexual purposes, according to a press release from federal prosecutors in Memphis.

Mark Woodson Mangrum, 47, the former pastor of First Baptist Church in Parsons, was one of six people indicted Tuesday by the federal grand jury, according to a release from U.S. Attorney David Kustoff.

 

 

Mark Donahoe, Mangrum's attorney, said the former pastor looks forward to his day in court.

"My client maintains that he didn't do anything wrong. We look forward to presenting a vigorous defense of the case in court," Donahoe said.

Mangrum faces a one-count indictment charging him with, "use of a facility and means of interstate commerce (computer) for the purpose of attempting to persuade and entice a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The penalty if convicted on the charge is not less than 10 years and not more than life in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.

Mangrum had pastored First Baptist Church in Parsons for about six years before resigning last month, said Tommy Doyle, the church's chairman of the deacons.

"He (Mangrum) resigned as of early January because allegations had been brought forth," Doyle said in a telephone interview.

"We were hoping against hope that the FBI would not press charges against him," he said. "We hate that kind of news. We love Brother Mark. It just tears our heart out."

Doyle said on Tuesday that he did not know if any of the allegations involved youths at the church.

"I couldn't answer that definitively. As time goes on, we'll all find out," added Doyle, who also said that he has not talked to Mangrum in about two weeks.

Mangrum had no comment when contacted at his home by phone Tuesday. He referred all questions to his attorney.

Donahoe said Mangrum resigned from his church duties because "he didn't want anyone in the church to be uncomfortable or for this situation to affect the church in any way until the final matter can be resolved."

Doyle said that Dr. Hyran Barefoot has been serving as interim pastor since late January.

Barefoot said he visited with Mangrum a couple of weeks ago. "My desire is to try to help him and his family. I did not discuss the nature of the charges with him," he said.

Barefoot said as far as he can tell, the approximately 200-member congregation is doing well under the circumstances.

"It seems to me that they're handling it very well,'' he said. ''They're going right on with their activities. Everything seems to be functioning there normally."

The following group of men also were indicted on child exploitation charges Tuesday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice:

·  James Marshall Vandiver, 28, of Humboldt. Vandiver faces one count of use of a facility and means of interstate commerce (computer) for the purpose of attempting to persuade and entice a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity. Vandiver could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

·  Ovell Evers, 53, of Memphis, faces two counts of production of child pornography by use of a 13-year-old female engaging in sexually explicit conduct; one count of possession of child pornography, and a forfeiture count.

·  Donald Edward Kline, 29, of Bartlett faces four counts of receipt of child pornography; one count of possession of child pornography, and a forfeiture count.

·  Aaron Luis Colon, 24, of Millington, faces three counts of receipt of child pornography; one count of possession of child pornography; and a forfeiture count.

·  Danny Lee Dewey, 42 of Kent, Wash., faces two counts of distribution of child pornography.

  • Wendy Isom, 425-9782, The Jackson Sun

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