St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Feb. 20, 2003
By Susan Weich Post-Dispatch
A former top official of the Pentecostal church pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor sexual misconduct charge that came after he tried to engage in a sex act with another man in a St. Charles park.
The Rev. Ronald Oree Nation, 70, was the Sunday School director of the United Pentecostal Church International. The denomination, based in Hazelwood, claims 2.6 million members worldwide, including 760,000 in this country.
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Nation was among 11 men arrested after a two-month undercover police investigation last fall at DuSable Park, which is near the Missouri riverfront and the Katy Trail. Police say the men propositioned the officers on a back parking lot at the north end of the park.
Nation’s sentence was suspended providing he successfully completes a two-year probation. Terms of his probation include staying away from any park for the purpose of solicitation.
If Nation violates his probation, he could get a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. He had no prior convictions.
Formal charges were filed against only three other men in the investigation. Their cases are still pending.
Nation was suspended without pay from his church post after the charges became public. He had planned to retire on Feb. 1.
The Rev. Jerry Jones, general secretary of the United Pentecostal Church International, did not return phone calls Thursday.