Missouri church, nonprofit settle sex abuse lawsuit

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A western Missouri woman whose parents were sued by a church and a nonprofit after she claimed sexual abuse by a man who worked for both groups has settled the lawsuit that led to the unusual counter-claim.

The woman’s attorney confirmed Monday that an out-of-court settlement was reached last week in the lawsuit against New Life Bible Church of Easton, an evangelical church in St. Joseph. The claim also named OATS Inc., a statewide nonprofit based in Columbia that provides transportation for rural residents, the elderly and people with disabilities.

Attorney Rebecca Randles said terms of the settlement are confidential.

The initial lawsuit filed in February 2010 followed an October 2009 guilty plea by Michael J. Landy. He received a sentence of seven years in prison and five years of probation for abusing a girl over four years beginning when she was 13. All but 120 days of the sentence were suspended.

Landy was an OATS regional director and also worked as a church youth minister. His victim, who is now a 29-year-old mother of four, claimed that some of the abuse occurred on property owned by the nonprofit between 1995 and 1999, while she was a teenager.

Both lawsuits named the victim, her parents and others, but The Associated Press generally does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse.

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