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Anti-Gay Missouri Pol Caught Up in S/M Scandal

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Dec 9, 2009
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A former Missouri lawmaker was charged Dec. 7 with felony assault in connection with an S/M encounter in which the safe words--"green balloons"--were not uttered as he allegedly struck and choked his female partner.

The alleged encounter took place in November in Sikeston, Missouri, and involved Rod Jetton, a recently divorced former speaker of the Missouri state House who remains influential in the state’s Republican political scene as an adviser to a number of officials, a Dec. 7 article in the Kansas City Star reported.

Paul Boyd, the prosecutor for Scott County, filed felony charges against Jetton that specified that Jetton harmed his female companion during a Nov. 15-16 interlude "by hitting her on the head and choking her, resulting in unconsciousness and the loss of the function of a part of her body," the article said. The affidavit also said that Jetton proceeded to have sex with the woman, and that the following day he remarked to her, "You should have said ’green balloons." Though a warrant was issued the same day the charge was filed, Jetton was not taken into custody until that evening, when he turned himself in to authorities, a follow-up story reported.

Details made public on Tuesday indicated that Jetton and the alleged victim had been acquainted for years, but that they did not have a relationship and had not been in contact for months before the purported assault.

Jetton’s lawyer, Stephen C. Wilson, issued written statements to the effect that his client was innocent and would be pursuing exoneration. "Mr. Jetton was shocked and surprised when first advised of the allegation made against him," Wilson’s statement said. "Now that a complaint is filed in court, Mr. Jetton’s only comments are that he is not guilty, and will vigorously defend this allegation in court and not in the media." The lawyer also advised that Jetton "will be leaving politics to deal with false allegations and spend time with his family," with the statement going on to say, "He is confident that when the facts of this case are heard, he will be found innocent."

Jetton, Wilson said, was closing his consultancy office. Jetton called some clients to inform them of his decision to close his business and inform them that his colleague, Eric Brooks, who had served as Vice president of his firm, would be starting his own consultancy.

But Republican politicians were already distancing themselves from Jetton. Republican State Rep. Rep. Shane Schoeller declined to take his business to Brooks, writing in a statement that, "I find that these are actions that I cannot dismiss, and I firmly believe that it would not be right to be involved with Jetton’s firm or his associates now and in the future."

"The allegations against former Speaker Jetton are extremely serious," said Ron Richard, who currently serves as speaker of the Missouri house, going on to add, "If the allegations prove to be true, Jetton should be prepared to accept the full legal and other consequences of his actions."

A Democrat, House Minority Leader Paul LeVota, said, "As the investigation goes on, we’ll see what is accurate and what isn’t."

Media accounts said that Jetton had started his consulting firm, Common Sense Conservative Consulting, in 2004, the same year he became House speaker. Ethical concerns arose when it became known that some of the firm’s clients were colleagues with whom Jetton worked in the state legislature.

In 2007, Jetton punished fellow state Rep. Scott Lipke by stripping him of a committee chairmanship. Lipke’s offense was in taking out anti-gay language that made it a crime--unenforceable in the wake of a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision--for consenting adults of the same gender to engage in sexual contact.

In Feb. 7, 2007 op-ed piece for local media, Jetton wrote, "The problem centers on Jessica’s Law that we passed last year. As chairman of the Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety, Lipke sponsored and handled this bill as it moved through the legislature.

"Jessica’s Law was a great bill, which we needed to pass to protect our children from sexual predators," the op-ed continued. "Regrettably, Lipke chose to use the bill to delete 14 words from our laws in order to repeal the gay sex ban in Missouri." Jetton went on to say, "Thanks to that deletion, it is now legal to engage in deviate sexual intercourse with someone of the same sex here in Missouri. This law had been on our books for decades.

"Not only did Lipke take those 14 words out, but he also did it in a very deceitful way. He never mentioned it to me, our leadership team or other members of the House," Jetton added, going on to acknowledge, "In Lipke’s defense, our ban was technically unenforceable because of a 2003 Supreme Court decision.

"After being confronted about his actions, Lipke told us it was ’no big deal’ because the Missouri law was unconstitutional. Unfortunately, it is a big deal, because now it is easier for gay couples to adopt children in our state."

Jetton went on to add, "I have fought attempts by liberals to repeal the gay sex ban for years, and I am now embarrassed to say that I unknowingly voted for the very thing I have been fighting against."

The Kansas City Star reported that if he is found guilty, Jetton faces up to seven years in jail as well as a fine of up to $5,000.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor, writing about film, theater, food and drink, and travel, as well as contributing a column. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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