Mo. House won’t accept resignation of member with abuse allegations

{child_byline}By Rachel Schnelle{/child_byline}

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House of Representatives refused to accept a resignation letter Thursday from a member who has been accused of abusing his children.

Instead, they delayed the decision to allow a report from the House Ethics Committee, which has been investigating the allegations of physical and sexual abuse of his children when they were younger, to be released next week.

The resignation letter written by Rep. Rick Roeber, R-Lee’s Summit, was read on the House floor Thursday. It did not mention the allegations but said he needs to leave Missouri to be closer to family. He said he plans to marry his fiancé.

Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit, objected to accepting the letter. Fitzwater, chair of the Ethics Committee, recommended that lawmakers wait until his committee can complete its work.

Rep. Richard Brown, D-Kansas City, and the ranking Democrat on the committee, agreed with Fitzwater.

“Our work is not yet done,” Brown said. “It’s not right to accept this resignation and to allow this member to escape” before the committee report is released, he said.

The vote to delay acceptance of the letter was unanimous.

The allegations were first made public by Roeber’s children during his 2020 campaign. They said the abuse took place when they were minors.

Roeber won despite the allegations. After he joined the House, the Ethics Committee began an investigation.

Earlier this week, Fitzwater and House Speaker Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold, issued a statement regarding Roeber’s intention to resign.

“Our caucus and our institution have a zero tolerance policy for anyone who would endanger the well-being of a child, and it’s clear that Rick Roeber’s heinous actions make him not only unfit for office but should also make him the subject of a thorough investigation by law enforcement,” they wrote. “To that end we have communicated with the appropriate law enforcement officials to share our concerns about the risk he may pose to other children.”

They praised the Ethics Committee’s work and wrote that “we are appalled by the disturbing details uncovered by the committee and ashamed of the way the system failed to protect them from harm.”

They concluded by saying: “His resignation allows him to walk away from his duties as a representative, but we cannot allow him to once again walk away from the children he victimized.”

  • Mark Horvit is the state government editor. Call me at 817-726-1621 with story ideas, tips or complaints.

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