Prison Time for Fort Leonard Wood’s Ex-Youth Ministry Director

youth ministry

A Missouri man, David J. McKay, 43, of Waynesville, was sentenced Oct. 28, 2022, to 30 years in federal prison without parole for molesting four boys. A former first sergeant in the Missouri Army National Guard, McKay is the ex-director of the youth ministry at the US Army’s Fort Leonard Wood. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

When he was a first sergeant in the Missouri Army National Guard and the youth ministry director for Fort Leonard Wood’s Religious Services Office, David J. McKay sexually abused four boys.

His victims ranged in age from 11 to 17 years.

The first incident occurred in 2010, the last in 2017.

He molested the children in a storage room inside a Fort Leonard Wood schoolhouse, a garrison residence, the base’s Happy Hollow campground, a tent in Kansas, and during a youth group ski trip to Colorado, according to a plea agreement he inked with federal prosecutors on April 29, 2021.

On Friday, Oct. 28, in Springfield, US Chief District Judge Beth Phillips sentenced McKay to 30 years behind bars for transporting a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, plus four counts of sexually abusing children.

youth ministry

Built in 1940 in the Missouri Ozarks, the US Army’s Fort Leonard Wood is best known as a training base. Here, Pfc. Nathan Waters, left, and Pfc. Matthew Williams apply camouflage face paint before a breaching demonstration put on for friends and family during a graduation ceremony held May 18, 2018, on Fort Leonard Wood’s Gammon Field. US Army photo by Dawn Arden.

US Army photo by Dawn Arden.

McKay, 44, won’t get a chance for parole. And when he exits the penitentiary, the ex-solider will be placed on supervised release until the day he dies.

The Waynesville man had faced up to a lifetime prison sentence. His attorney did not return Coffee or Die Magazine’s messages seeking comment.

Phillips recommended that McKay be incarcerated at Federal Correctional Institution Seagoville, a minimum-security prison in Texas. She also urged federal officials to ensure he undergoes sex offender treatment.

As part of McKay’s federal plea deal, the Pulaski County prosecuting attorney agreed to drop all state charges against him.

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Carl came to Coffee or Die Magazine after stints at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
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