Future House member Steven Roberts Jr. is denying allegations made by another future representative, accusing him of sexual assault. In a story by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cora Faith Walker, 31, alleges that she was assaulted by Roberts at a St. Louis apartment at the end of August. In a statement released through his lawyer, Roberts claims the incident was consensual.
Walker and Roberts are running unopposed in the St. Louis area in November’s general election.
In a letter to state House leadership, Walker asks House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) and Minority leaders Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis) and Gail McCann-Beatty (D-Kansas City) to wait on the swearing in of Roberts until after an investigation is complete.
Hummel and McCann-Beatty released the following statement:
“Cora Faith Walker has shown great courage in publicly seeking justice for the assault against her. It is vitally important for the legal system to diligently pursue this matter to an appropriate resolution,” says Hummel and McCann-Beatty. “As the situation develops in the coming weeks, the accused must determine whether attempting to serve in the Missouri House of Representatives under these circumstances is in the best interests of himself, his family and his constituents.”
Richardson released the following statement:
“I received a letter from future colleague Cora Faith Walker containing extremely serious and disturbing allegations against another potential future House member, Steven Roberts, about an incident in St. Louis. The kind of conduct alleged cannot be tolerated in our state and will not be tolerated in the House of Representatives,” says Richardson. “While the House has no jurisdiction over non-members, we will monitor the criminal investigation closely and continue to have a zero tolerance policy for sexual assault, misconduct and harassment.”
Richardson has vowed to clean up the capitol culture, after sex scandals surfaced in 2015 involving state legislators. Former House Speaker John Diehl (R-Town and Country) resigned after admitting to exchanging sexual text messages with a college intern. Former State Senator Paul LeVota (D-Independence) also stepped down last year after an intern accused him of sexual harassment.
Allison Dreith with Missouri Pro-Choice organization NARAL supports Walker’s plea to House leadership to delay the swearing in of Roberts until after an investigation is complete.
“I just stand with Speaker Richardson, as he said earlier this year, that he won’t tolerate this kind of behavior towards women and if those allegations come to be true, then we want him to carry out his word,” says Dreith. “This is an open investigation and we’re looking for it to be thoroughly investigated and come to a conclusion. So oftentimes, rape cases don’t end that way.”
NARAL endorsed both Walker and Roberts in their races.
Calls made by Missourinet to Walker’s campaign office and an attorney for Roberts have not been returned.