Judge Sentences Supremacist Pastor in Abduction of Grandchildren

Associated Press/March 20, 2001
By Connie Farrow

Gainesville, Missouri -- A white supremacist pastor was sentenced to 30 years in prison for abducting six of his grandchildren and keeping them at his farm to indoctrinate them.

Circuit Judge William Mauer followed a jury's recommendation Monday in sentencing the Rev. Gordon Winrod to the maximum punishment. Winrod, 74, was convicted on six counts of child abduction.

The children remained at his secluded farm in rural southern Missouri for several years until police found them last year. They have since undergone mental health treatment in North Dakota.

The pastor of Our Savior's Church has been linked to the Christian Identity movement, which considers white Christians superior to nonwhites and Jews.

Before sentencing, Winrod insisted he was protecting the children from being abused. He repeatedly has referred to the court and the proceedings as ``the Jewdiciary'' but denies he hates Jews.

``I'm anti the same thing Jesus was,'' he said. ``There is no Jewish race, there is only a Jewish religion. I'm not an anti-Semite. That's a lie.'' Winrod acted as his own attorney and refused the help of a public defender during his three-day trial in January.

He later was found in contempt of court after ignoring the judge's warning about raising allegations that the grandchildren had been molested by their fathers.

His grandchildren disappeared from their homes near Dickey, North Dakota, in 1994 and 1995. Authorities long suspected they were living with Winrod. Police raided his 400-acre farm in May, arresting him and then working for four days to talk the children, then ages 9 to 16, into surrendering.

Authorities said Winrod's teachings were deeply instilled in the children, who had barricaded themselves in a small basement room.

Winrod's daughter, Carol Winrod, 28, entered an Alford plea Monday to two charges, while four others were dropped. The Alford plea means she doesn't admit guilt, but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to convict her. Her sentencing is scheduled for May 23. Windrod's son, Stephen, faces the same charges. Jury selection in his trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Two other daughters, Quinta and Sharon, are serving prison terms in North Dakota on charges related to the abductions.

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