Minister Charged

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A prison minister from Harrisonburg is accused of endangering the lives of three children attending a church camp in Rockingham County.

Authorities say witnesses told police that 73-year-old Mark Lehman abandoned three campers in the forest. Leham ministers to prisoners at Rockingham County Jail.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Lehman Tuesday at the camp, which is connected to Immanuel Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg.

Lehman told The Daily News Record the camp hosted 17 first-through-fourth graders the week of July 7 at the camp near Briery Branch. Lehman says some campers are the children of prison inmates.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Sheila Keesee says Lehman is accused of abandoning three boys on two occasions, and told them to leave the camp and walk home.

Keesee says two Charlottesville residents found the three boys alone and notified police. She says Lehman told police he was using "reverse psychology'' on the boys.

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press

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