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Ray County resident who had inmate work crew at her home doesn't believe sheriff broke any laws

Missouri Attorney General calls for removal of Ray County Sheriff Scott Childers
Posted at 9:17 PM, Mar 07, 2024

RAY COUNTY, Mo — A petition filed by the Missouri Attorney General's Office accuses Ray County Sheriff Scott Childers of "misconduct and misfeasance."

It lists several reasons why he should not maintain his position, including allowing inmates to leave the jail, leave the county and leave the state without supervision.

The filing accuses the sheriff of allowing inmates to work on his property and the properties of his friends/acquaintances, which put "the victims of the accused in distress."

Ray County Inmate work program
Ray County inmates doing yard work in a resident's backyard in November 2023.

Back in November, KSHB 41 covered the re-launch of the inmate work program as inmates worked in a backyard at a home not far from the jail.

Anna Mae Holmes, a Ray County resident who had the work done, shared how upset she was to hear of the accusations against Childers.

"I was a little upset," Holmes said. "He's done so much for the community, and what they're saying about him I don't think it's true."

Holmes was the first resident the inmates serviced after the program started back up.

She said outside of them working in her yard, she never sees them in public unsupervised.

"I don't think he's breaking the law," she said. "Ain’t true until they say it’s true."

The petition included some of the same concerns that made the sheriff change the program several months ago.

Much of that came from Ray County Prosecutor Camille Johnston.

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

The prosecutor said at the time of the interview in November that Childers needed to have a way of tracking what inmates are going out, where they're going, and when they're going.

"Saying it is one thing, and doing it is another," she said.

Childers responded to that criticism on the first day he brought the program back.

"I understand their concerns. I listened to them. I made the changes. I didn't want this program to have a negative effect in any way," he said. "That's why I made the changes."

At the time, the sheriff noted those changes were inmates wearing marked uniforms and if they had a victim in the county, they couldn't leave the jail to work.

Childers told KSHB 41 this evening he is waiting on his attorney to make an official statement.

Ray County Circuit Court Judge Daren Adkins ruled Childers is not allowed to carry out his duties as sheriff. He can't enter the sheriff's office, the Ray County Courthouse or the jail.

Ray County Coroner Bart Willim is acting sheriff.