The son of an anti-government group’s leader is facing a dozen criminal charges for the alleged sexual abuse of a child younger than 12.
Richard Solon Mack, 44, is the son of Richard Mack, founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. The CSPOA, according to the Anti-Defamation League, “is an anti-government extremist group whose primary purpose is to recruit sheriffs into the anti-government ‘patriot’ movement.” The movement and its founder have rubbed shoulders with conspiracy movements like QAnon, which falsely alleges a widespread pattern of child sex-trafficking.
On Tuesday, the younger Mack was arrested on four counts each of incest, sodomy of a child younger than 12, and sexual abuse of a child younger than 12. He has since left a Warren County, Kentucky, jail on a $150,025 cash bond.
Mack’s lawyer, Travis Brown, said the charges were based on false allegations. “These charges and allegations against Mr. Mack are preposterous,” Brown told The Daily Beast.
The elder Mack also asserted his son’s innocence.
Reached by phone, Mack Sr. claimed his son’s ex-wife had filed false charges, leading to Mack’s indictment. Brown gave a similar account, accusing Mack’s ex of making unfounded claims over the course of a long custody battle. Brown said police had investigated the sex abuse allegations in 2019, but had not pressed charges at the time. He said he expects the case to go to trial.
Mack’s ex-wife did not comment on her former father-in-law’s claims. Last week, a Warren County grand jury indicted Mack on 12 counts. The indictment accused Mack of raping a child on multiple occasions, beginning in 2016 when the child was 7. The alleged incidents occurred until January 2019.
“He’s been falsely arrested before and he sued the agency that arrested him and he won an out-of-court settlement,” Mack Sr. said. “This has really gotten way out of hand and the indictment was an entire joke. He was not allowed any due process. He was not to even participate and he was not allowed to present any evidence whatsoever.”
Defendants seldom present evidence at grand jury trials, during which jurors decide whether to bring charges against that defendant. (The trial does not decide the defendant’s guilt or innocence.) In Kentucky, a defendant is allowed to submit a written request to present evidence to a grand jury. However, the jury is not obligated to grant that request. Brown confirmed that he had submitted a request for Mack to present evidence, but that it had not been granted.
Mack Sr. called the case a “sad situation” and said his son would fight the charges.
The elder Mack is a celebrity in far-right and militia circles for his founding of the CSPOA. The organization falsely asserts that sheriffs are the highest-level law enforcement agency in their district, and encourages sheriffs to enforce (or not enforce) laws according to their personal interpretations of the constitution.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mack Sr. and his movement gained popularity with local governments that opposed anti-COVID measures like masks. At least two counties in Nevada paid thousands to become “lifetime” members of the CSPOA last year. The designation is largely “symbolic,” Mack Sr. told The Daily Beast last year, although it included a plaque, lapel pins, and “all sorts of merchandise from CSPOA.”
Mack Sr. is a former board member of the Oath Keepers, a far-right paramilitary group involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, although he told BuzzFeed that he quit the organization in 2016. However, he and the CSPOA have subsequently collaborated with other far-right figures. One of the CSPOA’s Nevada events in 2021 featured a Capitol rioter (she pleaded guilty this year), and Mack Sr. later participated in a nationwide tour led by now-deceased QAnon promoter Robert David Steele. (Mack Sr. told Vice that he was not interested in QAnon and that he was unaware of Steele’s conspiracy leanings.)
Mack Sr. and the CSPOA have also conducted recent training sessions for Texas law enforcement, prompting complaints from civil rights groups.
“CSPOA is currently co-sponsoring a nationwide tour with an antisemitic QAnon conspiracist,” Devin Burghart, executive director of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights previously told Mother Jones. “Robert David Steele is a prolific purveyor of antisemitism who spews conspiracy theories about ‘satanic Zionists’ engaged in a global plot against white people.”
Mack Sr. was also present at far-right provocateur Cliven Bundy’s 2014 armed standoff against federal agents. He later told Fox News that, if authorities opened fire, he and Bundy’s supporters planned to put women on the frontlines “to show the world how ruthless these people are.”
“I would have put my own wife or daughters there, and I would have been screaming bloody murder to watch them die,” he said. “I would’ve gone next, I would have been the next one to be killed. I’m not afraid to die here. I’m willing to die here.”