The Richmond Register

October 7, 2009

Misdemeanor charge dismissed against former youth minister

Brian Smith

LAWRENCEBURG — A misdemeanor charge was dismissed Tuesday morning against a former youth minister and Richmond city building inspector accused of molesting two members of his Anderson County youth group.

Gordon H. Lunceford, 47, appeared Tuesday before Anderson Circuit Judge Charles Hickman for a pretrial conference on charges that Lunceford molested two teenage members of the Lawrenceburg First Baptist Church youth group while serving as minister to the group in 1992.

Lunceford’s attorney, Frankfort lawyer Guthrie True, filed a motion to dismiss a charge of second-degree sexual abuse against his client on the grounds that the statute of limitations on the charge had expired.

True said because the statute of limitations on the charge had expired in 2003, prosecutors were barred from charging Lunceford with the offense.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Laura Donnell, who prosecutes cases in Anderson, Shelby and Spencer counties, did not oppose the dismissal.

True also filed a motion asking Hickman to dismiss one of the six third-degree rape charges against Lunceford, claiming the indictment had charged Lunceford twice for the same alleged offense.

Donnell disagreed with True’s assessment, and has until Nov. 3 to file an official response to the motion, but stated her opposition in court as well.

“We actually have a fairly good calendar of events in this case,” Donnell said.

True is seeking to obtain therapy records for one of the victims in the case, and Hickman agreed to have the court obtain the records, but he will review them before deciding whether they will be released to attorneys.

Lunceford faces six counts of third-degree rape, five counts of third-degree sodomy and one count of first-degree sexual abuse.

The alleged assaults took place between April and November 1992, while Lunceford was youth minister at Lawrenceburg First Baptist Church.

He also served as a youth minister at other churches in Franklin and Madison counties, Kentucky State Police said after he surrendered to police June 5. Representatives from both First Baptist Church and Rosedale Baptist Church in Richmond told the Register in July that Lunceford had served briefly with their congregations as well.

Lunceford still is working for the city of Richmond as a building inspector, but did take a temporary leave of absence following his indictment, former City Manager David Evans said in July.

A Nov. 3 pretrial conference is scheduled, but Hickman excused Lunceford from attending.

Brian Smith may be reached at bsmith@richmondregister.com or at 624-6694.