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Tag: David Earl King

Black Collar Crime: Convicted Sexual Predator and Abuser Pastor David Earl King Dies in Prison

david earl king

David Earl King, pastor of Valley of the Kings was convicted years ago of “sexual battery, conspiracy to commit a crime, tax fraud, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.” Last Thursday, King died in the prison hospital at Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

US News and Word Reports reported:

The former pastor of a south Mississippi religious enclave died in a prison hospital Thursday night, years after being convicted of several crimes, including sexually abusing a teenage boy.

The state Department of Corrections announced David Earl King’s death Friday and said an autopsy will be done. King , 83, was in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman and had served about one-fourth of his sentences that totaled 66 years.

King once operated Valley of the Kings, which he described as an “independent holiness church” in Walthall County. When he was arrested, about 30 people lived on the 58-acre compound, with family members in a large ranch-style house and others in trailers. Children attended school in the church basement. Some of the followers said they believed he had the power to heal people.

In a 2002 interview with The Associated Press, Walthall County prosecutor Danny Smith described King as manipulative and abusive.

“He had gathered around him mostly women of meager means who could not support themselves,” Smith said. “He kept them in dire and incestuous circumstances, exploited and intimidated them.”

King was convicted in August 2001 and sentenced to a total of 36 years for sexual battery, conspiracy to commit a crime and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. During King’s trial, the 13-year-old victim described how King forced him to engage in sex acts.

In March 2002, King was convicted of tax evasion for not paying taxes from 1995 to 2000 on the door-to-door sales of peanut brittle to support Valley of the Kings. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison and a $120,000 fine. That was five years and $20,000 for each year the taxes weren’t paid.

Two of King’s former daughters-in-law testified that, “King beat them when they returned home with inadequate, or below quota, sales, that King worked them excessively and that King forced them to work when sick,” Judge Billy Bridges wrote in 2004 when the Mississippi Court of Appeals upheld King’s tax evasion conviction.

King’s children told the AP in 2002 that they had seen their father heal broken bones, drive cancer out of a woman on her death bed and save one of their brothers from a bullet wound to the head. One of his sons, Terry King, said he saw his father’s convictions as “religious persecution.”

In 2001, WWRN reported:

On a grassy meadow next to grazing horses, a large sign proclaims the Valley of the Kings to travelers passing along the only paved road in this southwest Mississippi town.

But two smaller, handmade signs just outside a wood fence and nearby red brick church let uninvited guests know they are not welcome at the religious enclave these days.

Church members posted the “PRIVATE” and “KEEP OUT” signs after the group’s self-appointed pastor was arrested in March, accused of molesting a 14-year-old boy.

“Charges like these tend to shock a quiet, small county like ours,” Sheriff Duane Dillon said.

Valley of the Kings Church patriarch David Earl King, 66, and Nathan Paul King, 32, believed to be King’s adopted son, were indicted in April on charges of sexual battery, conspiracy to commit sexual battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Last week, David King’s defense attorneys filed motions asking for a change of venue and requested he be tried separately from Nathan King.

A third man, Gary Lynn Bates, 21, of Denham Springs, La., has been arrested on related charges. All three have pleaded innocent.

David King called the charges “all lies” as he was led out of his bond hearing. Lawyers for King and Bates have refused to comment.

The 14-year-old’s parents claim the Kings sexually abused their son and threatened to castrate him if he spoke of it, Dillon said.

The indictment includes a second possible victim, identified as an 11-year-old boy who alleges Nathan King attempted to have sex with him. Since the arrest, Dillon says at least eight people from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi have come forward, alleging sexual abuse by David King and church followers. Some allegations date back decades.

David King described the Valley of the Kings Church as “an independent holiness church” during the hearing. But Prosecutor Dunn Lampton called it a cult-like group, with the elder King as its patriarch.

“He’s got an uncanny control over his congregation. He can tell them to do anything and they’ll do it,” said lawyer Conrad Mord, who has handled three previous cases involving the church.

David King was born in the Walthall County farming community and returned 23 years ago as a preacher with a large family and followers.

About 35 people now live on the church grounds, a 58-acre compound with a large house and a scattering of mobile homes flanked by elm and magnolia trees. The church basement doubles as a school for the children.

The closest town is Tylertown, with one traffic light and a population of about 1,900, about 15 miles from Louisiana’s state line.

Authorities say King’s followers make money selling peanut brittle door to door and, despite little interaction with the surrounding communities, neighbor’s say the group is well known.

“There’s always been something about that particular group” that has drawn people’s interest, said resident Sandra Peavey.

Some don’t think highly of David King.

“We were all proud he was arrested just because of the stuff we had heard,” said Charles L. Harvey, 64, referring to the sexual allegations.

Authorities said they seized more than $100,000 in cash, several weapons and pornographic magazines from David King’s home.

The Kings were denied bond and remain jailed.

In the early 1980s, Mord said he won a custody case involving a Louisiana boy, whose mother sent her son to school at the compound. David King refused to return the boy, Mord said.

Two other boys alleged they’d been sexually abused but both recanted, Mord said. A judge removed them from King’s custody.

Bruce Gerencser