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SPRINGFIELD, MO (KFVS) —A lawmaker from the Kansas City area who was accused of sexually and physically abusing his children when they were younger turned in his resignation on Tuesday, as a probe into his actions was almost done.
In a letter to the state House clerk, Rep. Rick Roeber, R-Summit, Lee did not talk about the accusations against him or the investigation by the House ethics committee that is still going on. Instead, he said he was leaving because he and his fiancee were getting ready to move out of state to be closer to their extended families, including his sick mother.
Roeber was elected to a two-year term in November, but he has always said he only wanted to serve for one year to help pass school choice bills and a bill to name a highway after his late wife, Rep. Rebecca Roeber, who died in 2019.
He said that since both things seem to be going well, he’s done what he set out to do and can now leave.
In reality, neither of his top priorities has been approved by both chambers, and a bill that would honor his late wife has not yet passed the House.
Roeber’s announcement came at the same time that other lawmakers who were looking into the accusations against him seemed close to coming to bad conclusions.
He has denied for months that he made sexual advances on his adopted daughter when she was 9 years old and hurt his son physically, which is what the Kansas City Star reported after interviewing his ex-wife and their three children.
After Republicans banned him from their caucus meetings in December, he said he hoped for a change “once these allegations have been thrown out by the Ethics Committee.”
A report in the Missouri Independent says that GOP leaders, including the head of the ethics committee, told the Jackson County prosecutor last week that they had “information that needs to be sent to the right people in your area.”
They also worried about the safety of a young person who often hangs out with Roeber.
After Roeber announced his resignation on Tuesday, House Speaker Rob Vescovo (R-Arnold) and Ethics Committee Chair Travis Fitzwater (R-Summit) both said the same things in a statement.
The most important thing they said was that the ethics committee believed what his children said. Roeber was also called “unfit for office” by Vescovo and Fitzwater, who also asked for a “thorough investigation by law enforcement.”
“His resignation frees him from his responsibilities as a representative, but we can’t let him leave the children he hurt again,” they said.
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, a Democrat from Springfield, was also glad to see Roeber go.
“Rick Roeber should have never run for public office because his own children have accused him of physical and sexual abuse,” she said in a statement. “He should have quit as a state representative a long time ago after making his children relive painful memories.”
This session, Roeber hasn’t been the only representative to get into trouble.
Rep. Wiley Price, D-St. Louis was accused of lying to the ethics committee when it was looking into whether or not he slept with a 23-year-old intern. In January, the GOP-led House voted to shame him publicly.
Price and the intern both said they had never had sexual relations, and Price said he had no plans to leave politics.
Rep. Tricia Derges, R-Nixa, was accused of selling a fake stem cell treatment, illegally distributing prescription drugs, and lying to federal agents while they were looking into her. A month later, federal authorities released a 20-count indictment against her.
Republican leaders also asked her to step down, but she wouldn’t. She has since been accused of stealing about $300,000 in federal pandemic relief money from Greene County. This is a new charge. Her trial will take place in August.
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