Ex-Missouri House speaker pleads guilty to assault

Ex-Missouri House speaker pleads guilty to assault

Credit: AP

This photo provided by the the Cole County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday Dec. 8, 2009 shows former Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton. Rod Jetton was charged Monday in Scott County with felony second-degree assault. The Cole County Sheriff's Department in Jefferson City says Jetton turned himself in on Monday and was released on $2,500 bond. (AP Photo/Cole County Sheriff's Department )

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The Associated Press

Posted on May 27, 2011 at 3:45 AM

NEW MADRID, Mo. (AP) -- Former Missouri House speaker Rod Jetton pleaded guilty Thursday to a reduced charge of misdemeanor assault, admitting he hit and choked a Sikeston woman during a sexual encounter in November 2009 at her home.  

Jetton, a 43-year-old Republican from Marble Hill, was placed on probation by Circuit Judge Fred Copeland. He was also ordered to pay $950 in restitution to the woman and $300 in court costs, the Southeast Missourian reported. 

Jetton had been scheduled to go on trial June 9 on a charge of second-degree assault, punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine.  

The woman was in court for the plea agreement. Scott County prosecuting attorney Paul Boyd said in a statement that the woman was "in agreement with the disposition so she can move on with her life." 

Once considered a rising star in Missouri politics, Jetton represented most of Bollinger and Wayne counties in the House from January 2001 to January 2009, the last four years as speaker -- the chamber's top leadership job. He was prevented by Missouri's legislative term limits from running for a fifth House term.  

He opened a political consulting business in 2004 but closed it after his arrest.  

At a preliminary hearing in February 2010, the woman testified she knew Jetton as a child growing up in Charleston and that they had reconnected on Facebook. Soon, they were messaging online, text-messaging and occasionally calling each other. 

She said the give-and-take became flirting, and they agreed in November of that year to meet at her home for a sexual encounter.

She testified that because she sometimes had flashbacks of sexual abuse as a child, she and Jetton agreed to a "safe word" she could use -- "green balloons" -- if she was having a flashback and wanted the sex to stop. 

The woman said the two drank win and she became incoherent. She said Jetton suddenly pulled her pants down, then hit and choked her. She said she blacked out and awoke in the bedroom, with Jetton having sex with her, smacking her leg and demanding that she say, "Yes, sir." 

She also testified there was a struggle and that she suffered bruising to her face, neck, left thigh and right ankle. 

 (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)
 

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