*A correction to the photo caption has been made. It was taken December 30, 2016 not in 2018. EM
By Echo Menges
Knox County Sheriff Robert Becker is scheduled to appear in court in Knox County on Wednesday afternoon, December 19, 2018. Prior to the court appearance, criminal charges will be filed against the Sheriff, according to the alleged victim and two sources with knowledge of the case.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office confirmed a hearing is scheduled for Wednesday but declined to give further details about the case late Monday afternoon.
The Edina Sentinel reached out to the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office to inquire whether an investigation was being conducted into the Sheriff and to inquire about the nature of the investigation before being stonewalled by both state agencies.
“At this point all I am allowed to release to you is very limited. During early May, the Missouri State Highway Patrol was requested to conduct an investigation on a Knox County Sheriff’s Office employee. Highway Patrol investigators from outside the area worked the investigation and forwarded the information they obtained to the Attorney General’s Office for their review. Any information that will be released would need to come from their office,” said MSHP Troop B Public Information Officer Sgt. Eric Brown in an email to The Edina Sentinel dated May 29, 2018.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office declined to speak on record after being asked to confirm an investigation involving the Sheriff during the week of December 3, 2018.
On Monday, December 17, after being informed the Sentinel had information about the coming court proceeding involving the Sheriff, a representative of the Attorney General’s Office told the Sentinel, “We can confirm that there is a hearing on Wednesday.”
Knox County Associate Circuit Court is normally held every other Tuesday and Circuit Court is commonly held on the first Friday of every month.
The criminal charges expected to be filed against the Sheriff are not being released at this time, because the Attorney General’s Office has declined to comment further.
According to the alleged victim in the case, at least one charge pending against the Sheriff is sexual in nature.
“Without knowing any of the details, any case he was involved in would come under a cloud of some kind. It would all be subject to further review by the prosecutor. What ultimately would happen would be up to the prosecutor and how he wants to proceed on any cases that involve him,” said Kevin Locke, the Public Defender assigned to Knox County. “If he’s pleading guilty to a criminal offence, as a sitting sheriff, that obviously is going to cast doubt on his credibility and put a cloud over all of his work.”
The following questions were sent to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office by The Edina Sentinel Monday morning. A representative of the AG’s Office declined to answer the questions at this time but said they would revisit them after the coming court hearing in Knox County. Should the Attorney General’s Office answer any of the questions below, we will publish their answers.
Questions Submitted to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office
By The Edina Sentinel on December 17, 2018
What date was the investigation into Knox County Sheriff turned over to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office by the Missouri State Highway Patrol?
Did the Missouri Attorney General’s Office field phone calls or other types of reports from Knox County citizens alleging a case involving possible sexual assault at the Knox County R-1 School District was being mishandled by the Knox County Sheriff or the Knox County Sheriff’s Office?
If so, how many reports did the Attorney General’s Office receive? And, how were those reports handled? And, when were those reports made?
Did the Missouri Attorney General’s Office do anything to see that a possible sex crime investigation being conducted by a Sheriff who was himself under investigation for sex crimes was being handled properly?
If so, what did the Attorney General’s Office do?
Could the Attorney General’s Office have asked another law enforcement agency to assist or take over an investigation being conducted by a Missouri Sheriff’s Office?
If so, what is the procedure for that?
Why are the charges against Sheriff Becker being filed right before a secret court proceeding set for Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at the Knox County Courthouse during which Sheriff Becker is expected to make a deal with a representative of the Attorney General’s Office in Knox County court?
Why weren’t charges filed sooner against the Sheriff?
What evidence does the Missouri Attorney General’s Office have to support your case against Sheriff Becker?
How will criminal charges against the Knox County Sheriff affect the cases he or his office has investigated or is currently working on?
Does the Missouri Attorney General’s Office feel the people of Knox County do not have a right to know what is happening involving our elected tax paid Sheriff and a criminal investigation involving him?
Why didn’t the Missouri Attorney General’s Office confirm the investigation into Sheriff Robert Becker when asked by this reporter weeks ago?
If the Sheriff were a private citizen, would charges have been filed sooner?
Why is there so much secrecy around this case?