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home : latest news : local May 23, 2016

5/15/2013 6:00:00 AM
Molestation trial faces former leading citizen
Van Brunt convicted of counterfeiting in 1982
Donald Van Brunt
Donald Van Brunt
Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - An Aug. 19 trial date on child molestation charges has been set for a former executive director of the defunct Mohave County Economic Development Authority.

An apparently frail Donald Van Brunt, 83, appeared in court with defense attorney Michael Bailey on Monday.

Prosecutor Gregory McPhillips and Bailey said eight witnesses still have to be interviewed by both sides before a trial could be held.

Van Brunt did not speak at the brief hearing in front of Superior Court Judge Derek Carlisle.

A grand jury indicted Van Brunt early last year on charges of molestation of a child and sexual conduct with a minor.

He is accused of molesting two boys who have since reached adulthood.

Van Brunt, a one-time public figure who was heavily involved in business and served as a Republican precinct committee member, has been in legal hot water before.

In 1982, he was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture $3.8 million worth of counterfeit Federal Reserve notes.

Van Brunt and his accomplice, Wayne Powell, purchased a print shop in Santa Ana, Calif.

The seller, according to testimony in the case, became suspicious after Van Brunt told him they might have to board up the windows because they were doing "top secret" government work. He also asked if the shop's cameras could pick up "very fine lines."

About 30 days later, Secret Service agents raided the print shop and Van Brunt cooperated fully in the investigation. He waived his right against self-incrimination and in a sworn statement outlined his involvement and identified Powell.

According to court records, Van Brunt, who used the alias Don Van Smutt, and Powell had already printed about $4 million in fake money that agents seized, along with plates, at the print shop.

Van Brunt pleaded no contest to the charge and was placed on three years probation and ordered to perform community service.

Van Brunt, a popular figure in Kingman who was credited with bringing businesses to Mohave County, including the Griffith Power Plant, enjoyed almost universal support from influential Kingmanites throughout his trials and tribulations, even when his federal counterfeiting conviction came to light when he led MCEDA.

Still, the revelation compelled him to resign from the position.

In a more serious matter, a man unrelated to Van Brunt's current accusers told investigators more than 14 years ago that Van Brunt molested him when Van Brunt was his Scoutmaster.

The man made the accusation during his sentencing hearing following a child molestation conviction in 2000, saying his actions were learned as a boy when Van Brunt allegedly molested him.

At the time of the man's testimony in 1999, Van Brunt was not named because he was never charged in the incident due to statutes of limitations.

In 2001, the Arizona Legislature added sex-related crimes to the list of offenses that have no such time constraints.

According to court information provided by the Arizona Judicial Branch, Van Brunt has been both a plaintiff and a defendant in a number of civil and criminal matters, but none as serious as what the octogenarian now faces.

Judge Carlisle set a hearing for June 7 to determine the status of the interviews and to confirm the Aug. 19 trial date.

McPhillips and Bailey agreed that it will take about four days to conduct the jury trial.

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Related Stories:
• More allegations allowed in Van Brunt case
• Molestation trial of former Kingman business leader under way
• Charges against Van Brunt survive; motions thrown out
• Attorney: Critical elements of Van Brunt case left out
• Van Brunt defense launches offensive
• Don Van Brunt indicted for molestation

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@ansons nephew

"“… technically, a male molesting other males....would in fact make him a homosexual. soooo, sorry to burst your little propaganda bubble there.”

"Factually, you are wrong – again."

Did you miss this in the article?

"He is accused of molesting two boys who have since reached adulthood."


"In a more serious matter, a man unrelated to Van Brunt's current accusers told investigators more than 14 years ago that Van Brunt molested him when Van Brunt was his Scoutmaster."

So you think this pervert was Straight?

In a somewhat related story a 18 year old woman began dating a 14 year old girl in her H.S. The day the older girl turned 18, the 14 year olds parents had her arrested. You should visit some of the leftist websites to read how they are commenting in the 18 year olds defense. The funny thing is if it were a 18 year old man and a 14 year old girl they would not be defending the behavior.

Leftist attempts to make others think homosexuality is normal behavior make me........


Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew


“… technically, a male molesting other males....would in fact make him a homosexual. soooo, sorry to burst your little propaganda bubble there.”

Factually, you are wrong – again.

Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013
Article comment by: Devona Camp

Oh my gosh!! I lived in Kingman Arizona for 5 years and I think I remember this person. Can someone tell me if this man had two daughters that he had adopted?? I'm almost for certain that this is him. Was always very strange to me.
How on earth can someone do something like this and not ever serve any prison time??? What a joke!!!

Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

@tj denton
Pretty sure that is incorrect. Pedophilia is in a different class altogether. A homosexual man may indeed be a molester of young boys...but so might a heterosexual man or woman. If I remember correctly...the incidence of homosexual pedophiliacs is very very low. Not a psych major...but they are two different things.

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: tj denton

well liberal lyin...

technically, a male molesting other males....would in fact make him a homosexual. soooo, sorry to burst your little propaganda bubble there.

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: Tom B

And the wheels of justice turn. Although slowly, they begin to turn.

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: Roy Leggett

Is there any justice in Mohave County? Van Brunt has been convicted of counterfiting, child molestation and now child molestation again. He gets probation because the GOOD OLD BOYS go to his defense. If this was a normal citizen they would never get out of jail/ Where is justice for the victims. There are probably more that have not come forward, I do not care whose Father, Grand Father or buddy this guy is, or how old he is, he needs to pay for his crimes

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: why is

Why is he still walking after all of the counterfeit money? The sentence seems kinda lenient don't you think?

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: how times change .....

back in the 1950's, the YMCA required all the young boys using their pool facilities with adults to go naked. And I only heard of their summer camps' practises, though those practises were "unofficial". I wonder what would happen if someone naked and with a bullhorn just burst upon one of these sensitive discussions and started throwing truths out there which no honest conversation could avoid. But back to your booze and TV shows and all the rest, all those dirty wars, abuses, wholesale lies, and disinterest in the world around you shoved under the carpet. And tomorrow, we'll all see each other in Whoo-hoo Land - I mean, church.

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: remember everyone

Mr. Van Brunt may have been very popular and high up in the local rep conservative ranks. He may have brought countless revenue and new business into the area. He may have even had the support of powerful locals during his attempt to become Kinko's copy cash.

Seems he did do a natural politician thing when the Feds camer knocking....Cooperate fully, include your partner, and end up with NOT ONE DAY in jail serving probation instead. I wonder how his partner made out in court? Maybe He's still in Prison?

Now Van Brunt faces molestation charges from the past that were forgotten until statues were removed.

If he is found guilty. The courts will have to forget all his good doings for Kingman and his "octogenarian" age. At that point he will be another disgusting/sick child molester and will deserve to go to prison like anyone else.

My guess if found guilty. Due to his past he will slide by with another round of probation. Call it a get out of jail card for helping the locality have some jobs and make a few bucks( litterally )in days past.
Im sure he knows the right people and will never spend time in prison

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

Just another example how people in high places escape the punishment they deserve because of their connections. I for one am sick of being lectured about morality by people on the right who act like they have a pipeline to what God wants and then go on to prove they are just sinners like all of us. Family Values is what they say they want yet they vote to make it harder for hard working families in favor of the richest among us every time.

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: Liberal Lion

Yeah, but you wouldn't want any of those gays in the Boy Scouts, cuz they might molest kids....

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