KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Former Clay County auditor William J. Norris was sentenced on Wednesday to 30 days in jail for tampering, and five years probation for making a false sworn statement following a 41 Action News investigation into nude photos and Norris’ secret felony background.
In November 2011, Clay County prosecutors charged Norris with a felony for "false swearing" in a candidate form where he claimed he had not been convicted or pleaded guilty to a felony.
The 41 Action News investigation uncovered a sealed 2005 felony aggravated stalking plea that Norris denied in election papers when he ran as a Republican for Clay County auditor.
Prosecutors also charged Norris with "tampering with computer data" in connection to nude photos of a woman the 41 Action News investigation found in his Photobucket.com account.
Amanda Grabos, the nude photo victim in the new criminal case, says the 41 Action News investigation saved her reputation.
“Thank you for everything,” Grabos said. “I would have to say you're my hero."
Social networks, online databases, and open records requests identify seven women's stories
The 41 Action News Investigators used social network searches, online databases, and open records requests to uncover sealed court records and identify Grabos as one of seven women who claim Norris either distributed their nude photos, impersonated them online, harassed them, or stalked them.
In July, the investigation found nude pictures of Grabos in a Photobucket account registered to Norris.
Court papers indicate police found the same photos on Norris’ computer and an Internet history indicating he’d accessed the website that published the nude photos.
VIEW THE PROBABLE CAUSE STATEMENT | View or download the pdf
“Oh my God,” Grabos said recalling the day she saw the nude pictures online. “What is my family going to think?"
She says, as a newlywed, she took what were intended to be very private photos for her husband on her phone.
‘The pictures were intended for my husband,” Grabos said. “Not for William Norris.”
Throughout our investigation, Norris repeatedly denied knowing Grabos or recognizing the woman in the photos.
“William knows exactly who I am," Grabos said.
Grabos and Norris both grew up in the small Missouri town of Trenton. Norris was a family friend.
Victim's theory on how Norris obtained nude photos
Grabos says, one night, she forgot her purse on a table.
"I believe that he probably took my phone and either e-mailed or text messaged himself the photos and took them for himself," Grabos said.
Court documents indicate, besides the 2005 felony stalking case, Norris also pleaded guilty to violating a protection order, but the case had been sealed until a court order following the 41 Action News investigation.
Another case of felony stalking and four additional charges of protection order violations were dismissed.
Despite the felony plea, Norris signed a sworn election document stating he had never pleaded guilty to a felony when he ran for office as a Republican in the 2010 Clay County election for auditor.
"It's been a long time coming and it's about time something happens,” Grabos said.
Police find politician's 1.825 GPA
Our investigation showed Norris was not a graduate of William Jewell or a CPA as he claimed.
Police statements indicate Norris did attend William Jewel, but did not graduate because he didn't have enough hours and had a cumulative GPA of 1.825.
He resigned after the 41 Action News investigation.
Nude photos and Internet evidence found on Norris' computer
The police statement indicates Norris also had the nude photos on his computer and his Internet history showed repeated access to Grabos' Facebook page.
The police investigation indicated Grabos' nude photos were posted publicly shortly after Norris accessed the website where they were published.
After our investigation, the website removed her picture, her marriage grew stronger, and in two months, Grabos expects her first child.
From our original investigation:
William Norris is a 28-year-old Republican who defeated an incumbent to win the Clay County Auditors seat in November 2010.
His denials of a felony conviction were adamant during our investigation.
“I have never plead guilty to, or been convicted of a felony,” Norris said in an email to 41 Action News. “Any legal matters I have ever been a part of have been misdemeanor offenses or have been pled down to misdemeanor offenses with a term of probation of the suspended imposition variety.”
In 2004, Seanacie Turner was a high school student in Chillicothe, Missouri. Norris, then 21, lived up the road in Trenton.
“I was in love with this perfect person,” Turner said during our investigation.
Six years later that perfect person became the perfect candidate by claiming he was a CPA, a corporate comptroller and a graduate of William Jewell College.
Our investigation found Norris wasn’t as perfect as he seemed.
Republican leaders raised concerns about his credentials