MO--Convicted molester gets to be around kids
Convicted molester gets to be around kids
Victims blast move by Jackson Co. prosecutors
DA’s office agreed to loosen parole restrictions
But the predator had already violated earlier conditions
Deacon “for decades” just pled guilty to felony last month
Victims group begs others who were hurt to “step forward”
Abuser lives in Belton & was deacon at Grandview Baptist Church
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--hand out copies of a two page “sentencing modification” document,
--blast Jackson County prosecutors for agreeing to let an convicted child molester be around kids,
--prod church officials, where the predator was a deacon, to aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes, and
--urge those with information or suspicions about child sex crimes and cover ups to keep calling police and prosecutors, not church officials.
TODAY, Friday, Jan. 29 at 2:30 p.m.
Outside the Jackson County prosecutor’s office (north side), 1315 Locust in downtown in Kansas City MO
Two-fhree members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis man who is the organization’s long time director
Yesterday, with the agreement of a Jackson County prosecutor, a just-convicted child molester sought – and likely won – a “parole modification” that enables him to be around “those under age 16 in an unsupervised capacity on a daily basis.” SNAP thinks this is “a reckless and callous move.”
Last month, John Henry Stone of Belton pled guilty to a felony: sexually assaulting a girl younger than 14 between August through December of 2014. Her family was befriended by Stone at Grandview Baptist Church (913-281-1150) where Stone was a deacon for decades and helped lead several children’s programs, including Vacation Bible School.
According to a court document when Stone was arrested, Stone “looked down a child’s shirt and pants,” kissed her breasts several times and “touched (her) genitals.”
But yesterday, he sought an easing of his parole restrictions. SNAP objects to both his request and to a prosecutor’s agreement with the request.
(When both sides agree to a move like this, as is happening here, requests like this are almost always granted by judges. If the judge approved this requests yesterday, SNAP hopes the ruling will be reversed. If that hasn’t happened yet, SNAP hopes the judge will NOT grant the request.)
“The ink is barely dry on Stone’s guilty plea and sentencing,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. “Now is not the time to take chances with a proven child molester.”
SNAP notes that in June of 2015, just a month after his arrest, Stone violated a condition bond that was set by a judge, apparently by being near a little girl. That violation led to Stone’s re-arrest.
"Maybe relaxing probation conditions would make sense years down the road, if Stone is clearly complying,” said Barbara Dorris of SNAP. “But at best, easing restrictions on him now seems premature. And at worst, it’s taking unnecessary and unwise risks with kids’ safety.”
Stone is required to be on the sex offender registry, get sex offender screening and treatment and have no contact with two victims or their immediate families.
“We see no signs that church officials acted improperly in this case,” Dorris said. “But we are confident that they could do more outreach to find and help others who may have been assaulted by Stone and we firmly believe doing this is their moral duty.”
Too often, SNAP maintains, religious figures try to “appear neutral” in clergy sex abuse cases, instead of “siding with the innocent and vulnerable and helping police and prosecutors effective pursue those who commit or conceal heinous crimes against kids.”
“Baptist officials should use pulpit announcements and websites to aggressively reach out to anyone who may have information or suspicions about Stone’s crimes,” said Clohessy. “That’s what truly caring shepherds would do.”
Stone is 69 years old. He originally faced four counts of child sex abuse but three of the counts were dismissed. He is required to be on the sex offender registry, get sex offender screening and treatment and have no contact with two victims or their immediate families.
The assistant prosecutor handling the case is Sydney Sanders. Stone is represented by attorney Andrea M. Welch (816 533 7673).
Stone is 69 years old. He originally faced four counts of child sex abuse but three of the counts were dismissed.
Stone lives on East 185th Street in Belton. He was indicted by a grand jury in July 2015.
Previously, SNAP has praised Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker for successfully prosecuting Bishop Robert Finn for concealing the child sex crimes of Fr. Shawn Ratigan.