was a Mormon missionary in Nevada; charged with sexually abusing two little children at an LDS chapel in the Las Vegas area; in 2005, made a plea deal to avoid prison, via an Alford plea to two counts; a local LDS leader allegedly failed to report the abuse to police; in 2008, sentenced to prison after violating the plea deal; as of 2024, lives in Las Vegas, Nevada as a registered sex offender

Case Summary

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“Records show civil lawsuits filed in 2005 in Clark County District Court against Misseldine, the LDS Church and others were closed in 2007 after the church set up trust funds of $400,000 for the older girl and $382,000 for the younger girl and her sister.”
Deseret News, Jan. 5, 2008

10/08/03 Nevada

LDS John Misseldine was accused of molesting two children. Misseldine was a
missionary and he told authorities. “His church advised him not to speak with the police
without an attorney present. The victims were ages 7 and 4 and the molestation took place
at a “Las Vegas Valley church.” “According to police reports, Misseldine told officers he had
a similar legal problem in Virginia. The suspect did not elaborate other than to say that the
charges in Virginia were dropped and that the Mormon Church knew about the prior
accusations, according to Las Vegas police reports.” “A Las Vegas Valley woman told
detectives she took her two nieces, ages 7 and 4, and a third girl, age 2, to a Mormon
church at 1775 N. Christy Lane. It is there that Misseldine molested the girls. When the

Aunt was told by the girls what Misseldine did to them she ‘returned to the church and told
an official of the conversation with the children’. “She was not getting any satisfaction, so
she called the police,” the report said.”

Ex-missionary sentenced By Ken Ritter Associated Press Published: Saturday, Jan. 5 2008
12:28 a.m. MST

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  5. Man to avoid prison in molestation case
    view source details | 19 Aug 2005 | Las Vegas Sun
  6. Ex-missionary sentenced
    view source details | 5 Jan 2008 | Deseret News
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    Man to avoid prison in molestation case
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Las Vegas Sun
    Date published/accessed: 19 Aug 2005
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Prosecutors have agreed to a plea bargain that will allow a 21-year-old former Mormon missionary charged with molesting an 8-year-old and a 4-year-old girl at a Mormon chapel to avoid prison and avoid having to register as a sex offender.

    The deal given to John Misseldine allows for probation instead of a potential sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

    To get the deal, Misseldine on Thursday entered an Alford plea to one count each of attempted lewdness with a child under the age of 14 and coercion. Under an Alford plea a defendant technically does not admit guilt but agrees that prosecutors could prove their case at trial.

    As part of the complex plea bargain, however, District Judge Donald Mosley found Misseldine guilty only of the coercion charge on Thursday and placed a stay on a ruling of the more serious charge of attempted lewdness charge.

    On Oct. 10, Mosley is expected to issue a suspended sentence of two to five years in prison and place Misseldine on probation for five years. If Misseldine successfully completes probation, the coercion and attempted lewdness charges would be dismissed.

    If Misseldine fails to complete probation he would not only serve the two- to five-year prison term for the coercion charge, but also two to 20 years for the attempted lewdness charge. It would be up to Mosley to decide whether those sentences would run consecutively or concurrently.

    If he does not comply with the terms of his probation, Misseldine would then be required to register as a sex offender and be under lifetime supervision.

    Misseldine was scheduled to stand trial on Aug. 22 on two counts of lewdness with a child under the age of 14. If convicted he would have faced a sentence of 10 years to life in prison on each count.

    Misseldine's attorney, Robert Draskovich, said the plea bargain was the result of "ongoing discussions over the past six months" with the district attorney's office. Draskovich said he "believed this young man was innocent" and was happy the district attorney's office "acknowledged there were questions as to his guilt."

    The defense attorney said Misseldine, who has no previous criminal history, took and passed two polygraphs, which even though they are inadmissible in court bolstered Misseldine's claim of innocence.

    Draskovich also said one of the victims in the case had a "history of making false allegations and the other victim is a close family member" of the other victim who may have been swayed to accuse Misseldine.

    When asked if he was confident that Misseldine could stay trouble free for the next five years, Draskovich responded saying "he's lived under the stigma of these allegations for two years and he's willing to continue for another five."

    The defense attorney said rumors that Misseldine had faced legal problems due to alleged involvement with young girls in Virginia were completely false. He said Misseldine was never arrested or charged with any crimes in his life.

    Draskovich said the allegation came from a Clark County Detention Center corrections officer, were investigated by the district attorney's office and were found to be untrue.

    Misseldine of Little Rock, Ark., is free on $35,000 bail and is currently attending college in northern Utah.

    When Mosley asked Misseldine if he understood the complexities of the plea bargain, Misseldine responded "Yes sir."

    Prosecutor Stacy Collins would not elaborate as to why Misseldine was offered the deal other than to say it "strikes a balance between justice and community protection."

    Collins told Mosley that if the case had gone to trial the evidence would have shown that on May 4, 2003, Misseldine touched the girls in a Bible study room while the girls' aunt was attending an adult education class at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel at 1775 N. Christy Lane in Las Vegas.

    Misseldine was originally charged with one count of sexual assault and two counts of lewdness, but the sexual assault charge was dropped after Draskovich successfully argued that the charge wrongly stemmed from testimony given by the victim's aunt. Mosley dismissed the sexual assualt charge.

    The law allows statements made by a child under the age of 10 describing sexual molestation to be used in court if certain conditions are met.

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    Ex-missionary sentenced
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Deseret News
    Date published/accessed: 5 Jan 2008
    archive 1 | archive 2

    LAS VEGAS — A former missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was sentenced Thursday to two to six years in prison after a judge ruled he violated terms of a plea deal that called for him to complete counseling and community service.

    The judge decreed John Misseldine, 26, guilty of lewdness with a child under the age of 14 and coercion, and ordered him to register and submit to monitoring as a sex offender. The felony charges, dating to 2003, had been stayed under terms of the October 2005 plea deal.

    "I still maintain my innocence in this case," Misseldine said when Clark County District Judge Donald Mosley asked him to speak.

    The judge dismissed Misseldine's assertions that the claims against him were false and a scheme by the girls' families to get money from the LDS Church.

    "I'm not buying it, No. 1," the judge said, "and No. 2, it doesn't make any sense. Why would they come up with this story? It's pretty hard to imagine this was just fabricated."

    Defense lawyer Robert Draskovich said outside court that he will appeal.

    "This needs to be reviewed by the Nevada Supreme Court," he said.

    The mothers of the young accusers, then 4 and 7, sobbed quietly in the courtroom while Draskovich and prosecutor Lisa Luzaich referred to allegations that the youngest girl also claimed she had been sexually abused by an uncle.

    Those charges were later dropped, the girl's mother said later.

    The mother of the older girl, who said outside court she was relieved Misseldine will have to register as a sex offender, called it "ridiculous" to claim the girls made up the stories for money.

    "That's horrible," she said. "I would never think of having my little girl say these things."

    The Associated Press is withholding the names of the mothers because their daughters are victims of sexual abuse.

    Records show civil lawsuits filed in 2005 in Clark County District Court against Misseldine, the LDS Church and others were closed in 2007 after the church set up trust funds of $400,000 for the older girl and $382,000 for the younger girl and her sister.

    Misseldine, of Little Rock, Ark., was accused of fondling the two girls while he was baby-sitting them in a classroom during services at a Las Vegas church in 2003.

    Draskovich said Misseldine never got a chance to face his accusers or challenge their stories at trial because of the negotiated settlement. The lawyer also called it "premature" to revoke Misseldine's probation after only two of five years.

    But Luzaich asked the judge to impose a maximum possible sentence of five to 20 years in prison.

    She said Misseldine manipulated the court, failed to complete counseling and community service and had not found a full-time job as required.

    "He was given the best deal that anyone ever could have gotten in a case like this," Luzaich told the judge, "and basically he threw it right back in our face and this court's face."

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