DNA has linked the man known as the “Pillowcase Rapist” in Kansas City to a rape case that’s almost 30 years old. Police have arrested Robert Fellows, who already is in prison in Bonne Terre for 75 years. He’s accused of two counts of rape, sodomy and robbery in the latest case. Fellows was convicted of another 1977 rape long enough ago that he is eligible for parole on that conviction. Fellows was known as the “Pillowcase Rapist” because he used pillowcases to keep his victims from seeing his face during the attacks.
Missouri’s Congressmen are reacting with outrage about the conduct of one of their own. Northeast Missouri Congressman Kenny Hulshof says it’s appropriate Florida Congressman Mark Foley resigned after it became public that he had sent sexually explicit electronic messages to teenage male pages. Hulshof says the scandal tarnishes the image of Congress. He wants a thorough investigation of the scandal by the House Ethics Committee. Hulshof says it needs to be disclosed who knew what when and how they reacted. He also wants the Justice Department to investigate whether any criminal laws were broken. Hulshof says he’s not sure how the scandal will affect the elections. Foley is a Republican as is Hulshof. Northwest Missouri Congressman Sam Graves, a Republican, says this is a problem that surrounded a sick individual and whether it has an impact on any other member’s campaign is hard to tell. Graves says he’s disgusted by what Foley did, especially since Graves has a daughter who participated in the intern program this summer. He calls the incident very disturbing. Both Graves and Hulshof say they support Speaker Dennis Hastert, who has come under fire for not addressing the problem sooner.
A Bridgeton man has been sentenced to a year in jail for making 34 obscene phone calls to women real estate agents. Investigators say Donald Patterson masturbated in a hospital waiting room while he looked at pictures of the women in their real-estate ads and left sexual messages on their answering machines. One of the messages was seven minutes long. Patterson is a former optometrist who lost his state license a decade ago after admitting he made obscene calls to some of his patients.
A federal judge has refused to dismiss a child pornography charge against former Douglas County Judge Roger Wall, who says his right to a speedy trial has been violated. Wells was charged in March. His lawyer says the speedy-trial standard was violated when the government filed a new charge that is not backed by new information. The federal judge says, however, at least two witnesses have provided new or differing accounts. And he says Wall is to blame for any delay because of the pretrial motions he has filed.
The most sued priest in St. Louis has been sued again. Michael McGrath is facing his 21st lawsuit. This one is from a man who claims he was sexually abused as a boy by McGrath. The man’s name is not in the lawsuit. He says he was fondled at least once in the mid to late 1970s when he was ten or eleven years old. He says he did not remember the incident until a few months ago. McGrath was removed from the ministry last year. The St. Louis Archdiocese says it already has settled 15 lawsuits and one complaint against McGrath at a cost of almost $795,000.
The Missouri Supreme Court has handed down several decisions. Among them, one in which the judges unanimously agreed that most provisions of Missouri’s Megan’s Law – the law requiring sex offenders to register with law enforcement – are constitutional. However, the Court did rule those convicted of or pleading guilty to sexual crimes before the January 1st, 1995 implementation date don’t have to register. The Court also ordered a new penalty phase trial in the capital murder case of Terrance Anderson, convicted of executing Stephen and Debbie Rainwater of Poplar Bluff with a .357 handgun in 1997. The Court ruled unanimously that Anderson’s counsel was ineffective during the penalty phase.
Survivors of sexual abuse by priests say State Supreme Court rulings give victims a wider window of opportunity to report abuse and rid the priesthood of pedofiles. The Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, is calling on law enforcement to educate the public about the rulings, which allow a greater statute of limitations for cases involving repressed memories. Mid-Missouri SNAP Director Don Asbee says repressed memories can be repressed for only so long. Asbee insists increased awareness of the State Supreme Court rulings will benefit the victims and help to expose abusers.
A man identified only as “John Doe A.J.” has filed suit against the Archdiocese of St. Louis, claiming he was sexually abused by a priest back in 1982 when the man was an altar boy. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports his is the first suit filed after a State Supreme Court ruling that effectively lifted the statute of limitations on filing this type of civil claim if the plaintiff had repressed the memory. The accused priest, Reverand John Roger McDonough, died in 1985. The suit, seeking unspecified damages, says McDonough abused the boy in a locker room at a swimming party put on by a church in Richmond Heights.
The State Supreme Court rules in a case involving the statute of limitations in a sexual abuse case. The case centers around Michael Powel, who was a teenager when he began attending Chaminade College Preparatory School in St. Louis in 1975. In 2000, at the age of 41, Powell was diagnosed with a brain tumor and claimed he remembered being sexually abused by two priests at the school. And, he alleges this led to behavioral problems later on. A lower court dismissed the case on the grounds that the statute of limitations had run out. The Supreme Court, on appeal, has rejected that finding and has returned the case to a lower court. David Clohessy of St. Louis, National Director of SNAP – the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests – says this is a positive ruling for victims in that it turns these cases back to the courts where they can be decided by juries. Clohessy says this ruling helps to change a situation in which many victims – some with repressed momories of their abuse – have been frozen out of the justice system by an arbitrary and rigid time limit.
Related web sites:
SNAP – Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Governor Matt Blunt has signed into law Missouri’s version of Jessica’s Law, which aims to protect young children from violent sexual offenders. The official signing took place in the Governor’s Capitol office. It was preceded by and followed by a series of ceremonial signings in cities throughout the state. Blunt is pleased with what he considers the main component of this legislation – the creation of a mandatory 30 year prison sentence for forcible sodomy or rape against a child under the age of twelve. In addition, the offender – once out of prison – would be under mandatory lifetime supervision. The legislation also contains a provision that would see $250,000 spent to deal with Internet sexual predators. Blunt says he’s confident this particular part of the law would withstand any constitutional challenges that might come along. The original Jessica’s Law in Florida is named after youngster Jessica Lunsford, who was sexually assaulted and murdered by a predator. The Missouri bill, passed during the 2006 session of the General Assembly, is HB 1698.
Related web sites:
Missouri HB 1698