Pastor accused of raping girls turns self in

KOMO TV News, Seattle/October 29, 2007

Kitsap County -- A pastor wanted for allegedly raping two young girls in his own congregation turned himself in to police Monday morning. And Kitsap County Sheriff's deputies say two more alleged victims have come forward.

Kitsap County Sheriff spokesman Scott Wilson said pastor Robbin Harper of the Church in South Colby was taken into custody just after 10 p.m. He's being held on $500,000 bail for investigation of second-degree child rape.

Wilson said Harper is accused of raping two young girls over a period of several years.

"There was a pattern of sexual abuse that would cover the gamut of sexual activities that occurred with Pastor Robbin Harper being the instigator," he said.

Police learned about the abuse after one victim, now in her early 20s, came forward last week. The woman said Harper began molesting her when she was 12 years old and continued until earlier this year.

In court papers, the victim says initially, she refused the pastor's sexual advances. But she says, he told her: "She needed to get over these feelings so she wouldn't have problems with intimacy the rest of her life."

Harper allegedly showed her pornography so "she would know how to perform these sex acts."

The court papers say he even invited her to the Days Inn and Holiday Inn in Port Orchard. Deputies say she wasn't alone.

"All of them have said this was a typical conduct on how he would start a relationship with children," Wilson said.

Wilson said the woman informed police of another alleged victim, and investigators said the girl, who was once a member of the church, said she was also raped by Harper.

"The victims in this case, all of them, were scared," Wilson said Sunday. "I believe because they lived in a close-knit society, that they were afraid to come forward for fear of retaliation in one form or another."

A third and fourth alleged victim came forward Monday, but details surrounding those women were unknown.

Wilson said the abuse took place on church grounds, in the office, at the pastor's house and even at a motel.

KOMO 4 News asked Harper's son about the allegations but he would only say, "the charges haven't been filed yet."

Harper's neighbor, Cliff Delong said he's still in disbelief.

"No never. I don't halfway believe it now," he said. "I mean, you never know. Nobody's proven anything."

Investigators said they expect more victims to come forward.

"All indications of a predator, past practice in grooming, all of that kind of thing that seems to be so common these days, are quite evident," Wilson said.

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