ST. LOUIS (AP) - A 26-year-old Amish man who grew up in a community that shunselectricity, phones and cars has been charged with sexuallyassaulting five underage girls in Missouri and Wisconsin,authorities said Tuesday.
Chester Mast, of Curryville, Mo., was arrested in late May aftermembers of the Amish community in Pike County contactedauthorities.
Pike County Sheriff Stephen Korte said Tuesday that Mastsexually assaulted four girls in Missouri and one in Wisconsin whoranged in age from 5 to 15 years old. Two of the Missouri girlswere Amish and two weren't, and the Wisconsin victim was arelative, who is Amish, authorities said.
"It is unfortunate that nowhere is society is anybody immunefrom being a victim," Korte said Tuesday. "No matter where you gothere are people who may violate other people's liberties andfreedoms and peace of mind."
Korte and Scott Blader, the district attorney for WausharaCounty, said they worried that there may be other victims.
"It looks as though there are other matters out there and we'relooking at them actively," Blader said.
Mast is charged in Missouri with two counts of statutory rape,two counts of statutory sodomy and one count of sexual misconductinvolving a child. Korte said he is not related to any of thosegirls. Mast has not entered a plea, and was scheduled to appear incourt on Wednesday.
In Wisconsin, Mast is charged with sexual assault and incest.Blader said the victim there is related to Mast. He declined togive her exact age at the time of the alleged assault, only sayingthat she was from 13 to 16 years old.
Mast is jailed on $100,000 bond in Pike County, but if he postsbail, he'll be extradited to Wisconsin and held without bond,Blader said.
Mast did not have a listed attorney, but a request was madethrough jail officials to interview Mast by phone.
Mast has lived most of his life in Missouri but spent some timein Wisconsin, prosecutors said. The alleged assaults in Missourihappened between July 2007 and March 2009, and the Wisconsinassault occurred in 2004, they said.
Both Pike County and Waushara County have large Amishcommunities. In Pike County, Mast and most of the 60 or so Amishfamilies live near the town of Curryville, about 90 miles northwestof St. Louis.
Korte and Blader said their offices rarely get reports ofserious crimes involving the Amish.
"It is rather unusual," Blader said. "This is probably the firstone I've seen."
The Pike County Genealogical Society said the community is "OldOrder Amish" that uses no electricity, phones or cars. They travelby horse and buggy, use kerosene lamps for light andgasoline-powered machinery.
Mast worked in a sawmill and farmed, Korte said. He had noprevious felony record.
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