A Missouri lawmaker is banned from the state’s House of Representatives after an investigation by other lawmakers found he physically and sexually abused his children.
After hearing testimony from his family and looking through hundreds of pages of documents, the Missouri House Ethics Committee wrote a report stating that lawmaker Rick Roeber physically abused his children, one aged 9 and one aged Sexually abused 5 years ago and once drowned a litter of puppies in a nearby pond. “
On Monday, the committee unanimously recommended Mr. Roeber’s expulsion, stating that “the state of Missouri has abandoned these children for over 20 years”. The House is expected to vote on the measure this week.
Mr Roeber, a Republican, offered to resign earlier this month, but the House refused to resign.
“It is far more important that we do all we can to seek justice for his children and to ensure that he never harms another child,” said Rob Vescovo, Speaker of the House, and Travis Fitzwater, Chair of the Ethics Committee. said in a statement last week. “His resignation allows him to break away from his duties as a representative, but we cannot allow him to distance himself again from the children he has victimized.”
Mr. Roeber’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
The Report of the committee on the investigation credited to The Kansas City Star for one Article from September 2020 in which two adult children of Mr. Roeber said that they had been abused by him. The star’s report was released ahead of the November 2020 election, prompting several lawmakers to ask Mr Roeber to withdraw his candidacy.
He denied all allegations and refused to drop out of the race.
In his testimony before the committee, Mr. Roeber denied having physically or sexually abused his children, who are now all adults. He said he was an alcoholic but had not used alcohol since 1992.
Mr Roeber also said that his children’s testimony was part of a “political hit” and that his children were Democrats and agreed that it implied that “Democrats would accuse their fathers of such abuse on political grounds”.
According to the report, which did not mention the names of Mr Roeber’s adult children, Mr Roeber was “combative, defensive, defiant and sometimes angry” when he appeared before the committee. The report found that his testimony was “not credible” and found that there is no statute of limitations for “sexual offenses against minors” under state law.
In a testimony before the committee, one of the Legislature’s children said that Mr. Roeber was a “severe alcoholic” and that the report said he would drink until he passed out.
“Having someone you trust as your parents to treat you this way and not treat you like a child,” takes away your innocence, the person said.
The person described once passed the abuse on to Mr Roeber’s wife, but the mother of the person who called the police said no criminal complaint had been filed.
The person testified that if anyone was informed of the abuse, Mr. Roeber said, “He would get into great trouble, he would go to jail, and our family would be ruined.”
Another child of the legislature testified that the household was “always very chaotic” and that the family suffered a “hellish nightmare” because of Mr. Roeber, whom the person described as “having a beer in hand”.
The person said that Mr Roeber attended alcoholics’ anonymous meetings, but the home violence did not stop after lawmakers went to the meetings. The person visits a therapist monthly because of conditions related to Mr Roeber’s abuse, the report said.
Prior to becoming a state executive, Mr. Roeber worked for 20 years as a sprint project manager and chaplain for a “Christ-centered” rescue home in Kansas City, Missouri.
After a future woman, State Representative Rebecca Roeber, passed away in 2019, Mr. Roeber ran to occupy her seat in Missouri’s 34th district. Mr. Roeber was elected last November.
After the election, three of Mr. Roeber’s now-adult children wrote to the elected House Speaker about the abuse they had experienced from Mr. Roeber and asked the House to determine if he was fit to serve as a representative.
“Please do what is right, not just for us, but for everyone in Missouri who have suffered and for all of the children you have sworn to protect,” the three wrote.
In January, two Missouri State officials filed formal complaints of ethical misconduct by Mr. Roeber and requested an investigation into his children’s allegations. The Missouri House Ethics Committee met several times from February through April.
If the Missouri House voted to expel Mr. Roeber, he would be reportedly only the second member of the State House to be expelled The Kansas City Starwhich has been covering developments in the Roeber investigation for months. The first member of Missouri House to be expelled was in 1865 for infidelity to the Union, according to the newspaper.