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Missouri man draws 7 life terms for sexual abuse

April 24, 2016 GMT

MOUNT VERNON, Mo. (AP) — A 36-year-old southwest Missouri man has been sentenced to seven life terms for child abuse that authorities said began more than 20 years ago.

Lawrence County Circuit Judge Jack Goodman sentenced Marcus G. Yoder to the concurrent life terms at a hearing Wednesday. The Joplin Globe reported (http://j.mp/1SBAQ93 ) that Yoder pleaded guilty earlier to several counts of statutory rape and statutory sodomy. The sentence was the maximum on each count.

Prosecutor Don Trotter said the convictions pertain to the sexual abuse of two girls and two boys and that some of the victims had been foster children.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Social Services didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment Friday.

A probable-cause affidavit said Yoder began molesting one victim in 1992 when he was about 12 and the victim was 6. One of the victims told investigators he forced sexual intercourse on her beginning in 1995 when she was 9 and continued until 2001 when she was about 15.

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Trotter said he believes the allegations were first reported to authorities in 1999 or 2000, which led to an investigation drawn out over several years. He said charges were not filed until October 2013, a couple of months after a sheriff’s detective took over the case and began locating and interviewing victims who had grown up and, in some cases, moved to other states.

Trotter said there were also several other victims.

“We located 23 victims in all, but we didn’t charge (him with) all of them,” Trotter said.

Yoder, who worked as a truck driver, lived recently in Webb City and Carthage.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com