By Nate Smith
---- — ODON — The director of an online counseling ministry killed himself Monday rather than face a charge of child molestation, according to law enforcement officials.
Robert A. Mangus, 59, Odon, would have faced charges of molesting a boy for several years, as well as taking and possessing child pornography, said Daviess County Deputy Prosecutor Donita Farr.
Mangus was scheduled to turn himself into the sheriff's office at 5:15 p.m., Monday, per an agreement between the prosecutor's office and his attorney, said Daviess County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Gary Allison. Mangus committed suicide at his home Monday afternoon, the county coroner confirmed.
An investigation of Mangus began in October when a 14-year-old boy told detectives that Mangus made him perform sex acts over the course of several years, according to an affidavit by Lt. Bill Dougherty, a sheriff's detective. The boy told officers that Mangus had also taken inappropriate photos of himself and a girl.
It is the policy of the Times Herald not to identify victims of sexual abuse, nor their relationship to the accused.
Sheriff's detectives executed a search warrant at Mangus' home at 207 N. Spring St., as well as a storage building he rents on CR 900E. They confiscated cameras, computers and computer memory cards, according to court documents.
A sheriff's office report on what was discovered during the search described how a state police sergeant later used forensic software to recover 21 photos that had been deleted from a computer memory card. The images showed sex acts between a man and boy, which from physical indicators appeared to be Mangus and the victim, according to the report by Lt. Dougherty.
Detectives interviewed Mangus and his wife, Diane, at the Odon Town Marshal's office. Mangus denied the accusations and agreed to take a polygraph test, though he later declined to submit to the examination, according to Dougherty's affidavit.
Mangus, a veteran and retiree from the Naval Surface Warfare Center's Crane Division, started a career in 2000 as a full-time counselor and teacher through his online ministry, RMCM Ministries. According to the RMCM website, he's taught more than 650 students working toward degrees in Christian counseling.
The website says Mangus had a doctorate degree in counseling, was an adjunct professor for the Colorado Theological Seminary, and was a member of the National Christian Counselors Association.
Mangus' attorney, Michael Chestnut, declined to discuss details of the case, citing ethical rules that protect communications with clients. Chesnut noted he was retained as Mangus' attorney after the search warrant was issued.
A family member had no comment when reached Thursday afternoon.
Mangus' funeral was Friday.
Though matters of public record, court documents in the case were sent anonymously to the Times Herald this week. The documents' authenticity was confirmed by the Daviess County clerk's office.