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Accounting firm partner one of two accused of raping teen

An accountant who has been doing business in Columbia for decades is one of the two men facing charges for raping a Mid-Missouri teen.

Thursday, we told you Jerry Colster and Don Landers were charged for statutory sodomy.

Landers founded Landers, Weiss and Company, now Landers and Company, in 1976. It is now one of the leading accounting firms in the area, according to its website.

Abc 17 talked to Boone County’s prosecutor, Dan Knight, Friday about why he asked for a special prosecutor in this case. He says Landers had been his accountant for years and that created a conflict of interest.

Landers, who is now 76 years old, is still a practicing partner at his firm and his CPA license is good until 2016. But under Missouri law, that could change.

Missouri law says accountants convicted of a felony or crime reflecting on the profession can be disciplined by the Board of Accountancy.

However, the state cannot act on allegations or charges. The law says if the person, in this case Landers, is found guilty, enters a guilty plea or no contest in a criminal prosecution, the board can file a complaint with the administrative hearing commission.

A judge would then determine if there are grounds for discipline. And if the judge rules there is, the board may decide what the discipline is. The law states that may include revocation of the CPA license, a fine, probation or suspension among other things.

Friday, both Landers’ lawyer and Landers’ office said they have no comment on the case.

Landers has no previous criminal history and has served on Columbia College’s Board of Trustees and on the board of local banks.

Landers will appear in court for the first time next month.

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