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Saturday, March 23, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Pacific Northwest

Pastor Sentenced For Fraud

Seattle Times Staff: Seattle Times News Services

KENNEWICK - An East Wenatchee pastor, acquitted earlier of child-rape and molestation charges, was sentenced yesterday in an unrelated welfare-fraud case.

Robert "Roby" Roberson was sentenced to 30 days of community service and two years of probation, and ordered to pay $684 in court costs.

A hearing was set for April 19 to determine if Roberson must pay back about $36,000 in welfare aid.

Roberson, 50, pleaded guilty to perjury and theft.

Prosecutors contended he fraudulently obtained welfare aid that should have gone to members of his East Wenatchee Pentecostal Church of God, and to people who used a food bank they operated.

In the sex-abuse case, one of more than a score of trials that followed the controversial investigation of a purported Wenatchee child-sex-ring, a jury found Roberson and his wife, Connie, innocent of 14 counts of child rape and molestation.

The welfare-fraud case was moved to Benton County from Douglas County at the request of Roberson's attorneys because of concerns over media coverage.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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