Former House Speaker Rod Jetton has closed his political consulting firm to concentrate on his defense against charges that he assaulted a woman during an evening of sex in Sikeston.
Jetton’s attorney, Stephen Wilson, issued a written statement saying that Jetton would leave politics to deal with false allegations and spend time with his family. Jetton, who is from Marble Hill, turned himself in to authorities in Cole County late Monday after a warrant had been issued for his arrest.
Jetton and Associates sparked controversy from its creation in 2004, primarily because Jetton, a Republican, served as House Speaker at the time. Critics charged Jetton with multiple conflicts of interest by providing consultant work while serving in one of the most powerful positions in state government. Jetton has informed clients that the vice president of the firm, Eric Brooks, will open a new consulting firm.
The charges have shaken the State Capitol, especially Republicans who have given Jetton a lot of credit for a string of political victories the last few election cycles, including the 2002 elections when Republicans won the majority in the Missouri House. Jetton served as Speaker Pro Tem under House Speaker Catherine Hanaway. He was elected Speaker after Hanaway stepped down in an unsuccessful run for statewide office.
“The allegations against former Speaker Jetton are extremely serious. I feel very sad for each of the families that have been affected. Right now, it is important to let the prosecutors, judge and jury begin their work to determine whether the charges are accurate. If the allegations prove to be true, Jetton should be prepared to accept the full legal and other consequences of his actions,” current House Speaker Ron Richard, a Republican from Joplin, said in a written statement.
“These are very serious charges and our legal system must handle them. Each of us is innocent until proven guilty, however if these accusations are true I can assure you that my office will have nothing to do with someone convicted of these charges.” Steven Tilley, Majority Floor Leader, who is a close associate of Jetton, said in a written statement.
The woman alleged that the assault occurred in mid-November. Jetton and his wife divorced in October.