Kansas City family plagued with sex abuse working to put sex offenders behind bars

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Kansas City woman thought she would never see the day that her uncle was headed to jail.

Twenty years ago, she and two of her female relatives were sexually assaulted by 50-year-old Fentress Wilson.

"He's been doing this since the 70s, getting away with molesting children and raping them as well," she said. 

It wasn’t until this week that Wilson headed to trial and was found guilty of statutory sodomy in the first degree for raping another person in the family: an 8-year-old girl. The Platte County Prosecutor’s office said the case came to light when a witness came into the living room and saw Wilson with his hands down the pants inside the underwear of the 8-year-old.

According to Assistant Prosecutor Chris Seufert, child sex cases are some of the most difficult to prosecute.

"The child tells their story, the defendant tells his story and basically the jury is left with a kid and creep and they have to decide which one is telling the truth," he said.

Prosecutors also can’t include the defendant’s history as a sex offender and in this most recent case, the testimony of the woman and her female relatives can’t be included in the trial of the 8-year old girl. It could only be included as propensity evidence. With that, Wilson was found to be a predatory sex offender. He will also be sentence to life in prison.

However, some defense attorneys believe if relevant evidence of prior criminal acts are included, a jury will only care about the defendants past and won’t be able to find the defendants guilty based only on the facts in the relevant case.

But prosecutors say the prior criminal acts that are relevant to the case are key and are pushing for House Joint Resolution 16—a change to the Missouri constitutions that would allow a defendants history to be used as evidence in court.

"If we had this constitutional amendment they would know this isn't the first time he's molested a child, that actually he's been doing it for years. We shouldn't ask kids to stand up against a serial sex offender all by themselves," Seufert said.

House Joint Resolution 16 will be on the November ballot. 

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