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Prosecutor reviewing abuse claims against Missouri lawmaker

April 14, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri prosecutor said she’d work with local police in response to concerns raised by the House speaker about a resigning lawmaker’s contact with a child.

Emails obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday show House Speaker Rob Vescovo and the House Ethics Committee leader last week went to the Jackson County prosecutor to share concerns about fellow Republican Rep. Rick Roeber.

After his November election last year, Roeber’s adult children told Vescovo that he sexually and physically abused them when they were young.

The House launched an investigation and on Tuesday House leaders said they found the allegations credible. Roeber announced his resignation plans Tuesday without mentioning the claims against him.

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As part of the investigation, lawmakers found out that Roeber has weekend visitations with a child around 12 years old.

In response, Vescovo and Ethics Committee Chairman Travis Fitzwater on April 6 wrote to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker asking her to notify local law enforcement who can check on the child.

“Given the severity of the allegations raised by Representative Roeber’s children, we are concerned for the safety of this minor child,” Vescovo and Fitzwater wrote.

Baker in response said she takes the allegations “very seriously.” She wrote that she contacted the chief of police in Lee’s Summit, where Roeber lives, and will “work with him to devise a plan.”

Baker’s spokesman declined to comment further. Roeber did not immediately return an Associated Press request for comment Wednesday.

Roeber in his letter of resignation said he needs to move out of state to be closer to family, citing that as the reason for his departure from the Legislature. He said he plans to move after he marries his fiancé.

The House Ethics Committee is scheduled to release a full report on the investigation of Roeber next week.