On October 1, 2006, we published a letter from one Richard Markland, who did not identify himself except to claim that he was a former member of the Worldwide Church of God. Mr. Markland's letter was sarcastic and condescending to say the least, but his followup letter was downright abusive. At the time, several people speculated that he was not being completely forthright or honest.
Now, a reader of The Painful Truth has pointed us toward the truth. Mr. Markland has his own ministry!
Now it becomes clear why Mr. Markland found our criticism of Herbert Armstrong offensive. He admitted that Herbert was wrong, but stopped short of condemning him, and even blamed
us for not just walking away. Mr. Markland's solution, apparently, is to emulate the man you are walking away from. From the "Christian" tone of his letters, looks like he got it right.
The following email was received this morning, 12/05/06:
Please pray for my friend and your Christian brother, Richard Markland of Covington, Ohio. Richard was accused, and has been declared guilty of raping his eight-year-old granddaughter. He is presently in Miami County jail awaiting his January 2nd sentencing. Since his alleged victim was under the age of ten, Richard could face ten years to life in the state prison.
Richard is well-known for his on-line denunciation of manís governmental and judicial system. Could his incarceration be the systemís way to silence him?
Please also pray for his aging parents, Paul and Treva Markland. They have suffered greatly though the lingering death of Richardís wife, Linda, by cancer, as well as through the months of accusation and incarceration of their son.
Only three people know whether the charge against Richard is just: Richard, his accuser, and God. Please pray that God will determine the outcome of January 2ndís sentencing, as well as for Richardís parentsí future. Also, please pray for his granddaughter, who may have been coached in her accusations.
The first thought that crossed our minds, of course...could this be the same Richard Markland who
so recently graced our email pages? A quick web search suggested that it probably is. Assuming "our" Mr. Markland is the same Richard Markland who writes for 7times.org, he has been quite prolific in recent years on the internet. We found several samples of his submissions [here
here] and quite a few others as well. We also found two news stories (Dayton Daily News and
WHIO TV) about the "Covington man" who had been convicted of rape, and this link tells us that "our" Richard Markland is probably the one from Covington, Ohio.
We're still not 100% sure we're talking about the same man. But if we are, there seems to be a certain logic to it all. Perhaps Mr. Markland, if he really is guilty, has more in common with Herbert Armstrong than we ever imagined.
TROY ó A Covington man convicted of raping an 8-year-old girl continued to claim innocence Tuesday as he was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 10 years.
Richard Markland, 55, was convicted in November by a Miami County Common Pleas jury of rape and gross sexual imposition. He was accused of engaging in sexual conduct with the girl between April and November 2005.
"I am not guilty of this. I am being sent to prison as an innocent man," Markland told Judge Jeffrey Welbaum.
"It was mere accusations," he said, adding he didn't understand why a police officer could testify that he admitted to molesting the girl when he claimed he never made any admissions.
Prosecutor Jim Bennett had no comment before sentencing. Defense lawyer Samuel Huffman declined comment after Markland was led away by bailiffs.
Welbaum imposed the mandatory life sentence for rape and five years for gross sexual imposition, both of which will be served simultaneously. He also labeled Markland a sexual predator, which will require him to register with law enforcement where he lives if he is released from prison.
The judge also said Markland showed no remorse and demonstrated a pattern of abuse of the victim.
The Painful Truth has not seen any court transcripts nor heard any of the evidence in this case, and we are fully aware that innocent men are sometimes convicted. However, a jury of 12 did convict Mr. Markland of this crime, which makes him, legally, a convicted rapist and sexual predator. We are also aware that Mr. Markland was once a follower of Herbert W. Armstrong and has, in recent years, conducted his own ministry.
Our only personal knowledge of Mr. Markland comes from his email letters to this website, which displayed an attitude we can only describe as "hostile". Based on that alone, we were not terribly surprised to hear the "rest of the story".
If indeed these charges are true and Mr. Markland is guilty, it would appear that the legacy of Herbert Armstrong lives on and continues to destroy innocent lives.