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Missouri Pastor Charged With Child Molestation

Independence Police Arrested the 72-year-old pastor for sexually abusing underage girls from his church.

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The pastor of a church in Independence, Missouri, has been charged with multiple counts of child molestation involving two underaged girls who attended his church between 2011 and 2018.

Virgil L. Marsh, 72, was arrested outside of his home on Dec. 5 after a months-long investigation into sexual abuse accusations against him. The following day he was charged with one count of first-degree statutory sodomy and two counts of first-degree child molestation.

Investigation into Marsh began in May, after one of the victims told police Marsh sexually assaulted her in 2011 during an overnight stay at his house.

The woman reported that Marsh inappropriately touched her in his hot tub, groped her and kissed her on the mouth. She also reported that he got into bed with her while she was sleeping over at the house. The victim reported the contact to an adult shortly after it first happened. A meeting between Marsh, the victim and her parents took place where Marsh apologized. But the inappropriate contact continued.

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A second victim also came forward in May, a few days after the first. According to news reports, she had a similar experience with Marsh involving inappropriate contact when she was 8 and 9 years old, from 2016 to 2018. Both victims were abused at Marsh’s home.

News reports state that, according to court paperwork, Marsh has admitted to some of the allegations, including inappropriately touching the first victim. But he also told police that he has “asked for forgiveness from God, and he is no longer the man who had previously done things to the victims.”

Virgil’s bond was set at $50,000 and he is currently being held at the Jackson County Detention Center. His bond review hearing is set for Dec.12.

Main photo: Virgil Marsh

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Brittany Smith

Brittany Smith is a freelance writer living in Colorado Springs. She is the co-author of Unplanned Grace: A Compassionate Conversation on Life and Choice.