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Ray County Sheriff Scott Childers files new motion claiming AG's petition for ouster is retaliation

Childers claims retaliation connected to inmate work program, sexual assault case
Scott Childers Ray County
Posted at 10:01 PM, Jun 11, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Attorneys representing sidelined Ray County Sheriff Scott Childers are asking a judge to allow them to make an amended court filing they allege will show Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey retaliated against Childers in a quo warranto filing.

In March, KSHB 41 reported on Bailey's filing of the quo warranto against Childers, which is basically a legal action to get him removed from office.

The AG's office based its filings on the Ray County prosecutor's concerns about the sheriff's inmate work program.

Late Monday night, Childers' attorneys filed a motion seeking to add defenses and counterclaims – saying the AG's office failed to provide any documents or records to support the quo warranto.

Further, Childers is alleging the AG is using the quo warranto as retaliation.

Judge Daren Lee Adkins has yet to decide if he will allow Childers' attorneys to make the amended filing.

If the judge grants the request, attorneys are set to argue the sheriff implemented the inmate work program to "rehabilitate" inmates who'd been in jail for a long time due to "excessive delays in prosecution," and alleged failures and refusals by the prosecutor, Camille Johnston, to investigate and charge crimes.

Attorneys would claim this was happening "all while allegations of inappropriate entanglements between the prosecuting attorney and suspected perpetrators swirled."

Attorneys would connect that entanglement to an unresolved sexual assault case from 2019. The suspect in that case, according to the court filing, was in a "suspected long-term, personal relationship" with Johnston.

Eric Schmitt was the AG when the sexual assault was first reported.

If the judge accepts the amended filing, Childers' would argue he threatened to go to the media when the AG refused to do anything about Childers’ concerns about the sexual assault case. Childers would claim that, in return, the AG "retaliated against him," "wanting to avoid bad press in an election year."

In explaining to the judge why the amended filing should be accepted, Childers' attorneys say the AG refused to help bring the suspect to justice and "refused to investigate possible misconduct" by the prosecutor, though attorneys don't give specific details of alleged misconduct .

Childers is on paid administrative leave while the inmate work program case works itself through the courts.

He started the inmate work program in spring 2023.

At least one citizen complained about the program. Johnston told us why in an interview last winter.

"It was a domestic violence case and sexual abuse case where the victim saw her abuser, so we were really upset about that," Johnston said.

Childers said he revamped the project and Ray County commissioners signed off on it, according to the work program policy the I-Team obtained.

"Changes I made – they all wear uniforms marked Ray County sheriff or inmate work program. If they have a victim in this county, they don’t come out and work," Childers told KSHB 41 in November 2023.

The AG's office says Childers continued with the program despite being told it violated state law. When his office filed the quo warranto, Bailey said Childers failed to do his duty when he:

  • Unlawfully allowed multiple detainees to leave or be released from the Ray County Jail.
  • Stated on social media his plan to use detainees to work at his home or other businesses.
  • Allowed detainees to drive vehicles, make purchases at local stores, leave the state, and move freely about Ray County without supervision.
  • Failed to assure detainees not obtain contraband, which have been brought into the jail.
  • Permitted detainees to bring contraband (drugs, alcohol, cellphones, etc.) into the jail.
  • Allowed released detainees to work on his property and the property of friends and acquaintances.
  • Received or accepted a benefit in exchange for keeping pretrial detainees in the jail.

KSHB 41's Sarah Plake has been following this case for several months and will continue to keep viewers updated on new developments.