LIBERTY, Mo. -- A Clay County, Mo., judge released Burrell Mohler Sr., the patriarch of the Mohler family under investigation for child sex crimes, from jail shortly after 1 p.m. Friday after he had spent two and a half years behind bars.
Mohler Sr., 79, was released from Clay County jail on an "own recognizance bond," which obligates him to show up for further court proceedings. It will be the first time Mohler has been free since November 2009.
Several of his family members wiped tears from their eyes after hearing the judge's ruling.
Police arrested six male members of the Mohler family in 2009 for allegedly molesting young female family members on a western Missouri farm in the mid-1980s. The alleged victims, who said they'd repressed the memories, said some of them were forced as children into marriages with the men. The accusers said the abuse started when they were very young and they say they repressed the memories for more than 20 years.
Burrel Mohler's brother, Darrel Mohler, 74, died in September 2011 awaiting trial in a Florida jail.
All others have pleaded not guilty to the accusations.
The judge also heard arguments from the defense that the alleged victims should not be allowed to testify in the case because the state still hadn't given them the victims' medical and mental health records that defense requested more than a year ago.
The prosecutor argued that the victims themselves are reluctant to release records for privacy reasons.
The judge denied the defense motion, saying that the failure to get the records is not the state's fault. He says the case will move forward as planned. A trial date will be set in July.