The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.
Allen Lehmann, pastor of Trinity Chapel Assembly of God in Louisville, Kentucky, entered an Alford Plea on sexual assault charges. The plea agreement recommends a suspended sentence and probation. According to the Courier Journal:
A former Louisville pastor has accepted a plea deal on multiple sex offenses stemming from the abuse of three young sisters.
Prosecutors alleged Allen Lehmann, 80, abused the girls over the course of a decade when they visited his Louisville home. At the time, Lehmann worked as a pastor at Trinity Chapel Assembly of God church.
Lehmann entered an Alford plea, which allows defendants to maintain their innocence while acknowledging prosecutors may have sufficient evidence for a jury to convict.
He will be sentenced on five of the 17 counts against him, including sexual abuse and third-degree rape and sodomy.
The case was originally scheduled for a jury trial Tuesday, the second attempt to try the former pastor.
Lehmann faced trial in July 2017, but on the second day of testimony, the judge declared a mistrial at the request of defense attorneys after concerns one of the sisters may have revealed inadmissible information to jurors while on the witness stand.
Willett had previously ruled that prosecutors were not allowed to introduce at trial evidence of other allegations of sexual abuse by Lehmann.
Prosecutors interrupted the witness during her testimony, fearing where she was heading, but the damage was done.
Based on my understanding of news reports, Lehmann has previously faced accusations of sexual assault. If this is true, it troubles me that Lehmann will serve no jail time for his latest crimes. In Lehmann’s first trial, prosecutors wanted to admit into evidence a letter in which Lehmann admitted to abusing children all the way back to 1957! The judge for the first trial refused to permit prosecutors to use the letter. WKLY reports:
Prosecutors said a Louisville pastor once wrote a letter admitting to sexually abusing children, and now they want to use that letter in court.
Allen Lehmann faces charges of sodomy and sexual abuse. The alleged incidents took place between 1993 and 2000.
The 76-year-old Lehmann was a substitute teacher in Valparaiso, Indiana, when the charges were filed last year. He was also a minister at an Assembly of God Church in Louisville.
Lehman’s defense attorney said the letter doesn’t involve the cases in which he is charged, and that it can’t be used as evidence against him.
Prosecutors said it shows how Lehman preyed on children.
What this does do is give context to who the defendant is, and why we are here today,” Courtney Straw said. “He wrote this himself, confessed to these other crimes, and ends the letter begging for the church to let him continue to minister because, ‘Here, I confessed, I’ve absolved myself, I’ve told you just enough to try to keep my license.'”
Prosecutors said the letter, dated March 8, 2011, was handwritten by Lehmann.
The letter said “during the approximate time frame of 1970 to 1978, (he) sexually molested” the victims.
He also said “during the late winter of 1957, (he) sexually molested” another victim.
Lehmann is on trial for abuses police said occurred in the 1990s.
Lehmann’s attorney never attacks the letter’s authenticity but said his client has never been charged in any other sexual abuse case.
According to court records, Assembly of God officials investigated abuse allegations against Lehmann in the 1960s and 1980s. It is astounding, then, that Lehmann was permitted to remain in the ministry; permitted to continue sexually assaulting children all the way into the 2000s.