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Carey files appeal shortly after arrival in prison

By Allen Edmonds

ST. JOSEPH – Just weeks after being sentenced after a voluntary plea of guilty to multiple child sex offenses, a Belton man has filed an appeal, asking to have his conviction and sentence set aside for multiple reasons, including “excessive” sentencing.

Jason Carey

Jason Carey, 43, was sentenced to 30 years in prison last month by Presiding Circuit Judge Mike Wagner on the following charges: two counts of enticement or attempted enticement of a child, one count of child molestation, two counts of promoting child pornography, one count of statutory sodomy, one count of stalking and five counts of furnishing pornographic material to a minor. Time on all counts was ordered to be served concurrently.

He was transferred to the state’s diagnostic and reception center in St. Joseph, where he is being held until he is assigned to one of several penitentiaries in the state.

Many of the charges stemmed from an encounter with several students he involved himself with when he was serving as a substitute teacher at Belton Middle School in September 2022. He was also charged with molestation of the young child of a couple he was living with at a residence in Belton.

Carey had lived in Belton and worked as a trainer at High Blue Wellness Center in the early 2000s before moving with his wife first to Alabama, and then to Colorado, moved back to Belton earlier in 2022 after he had his wife divorced and she moved back to the area with their young son. He had worked supervising young children at SAC, the Belton School District’s after-school care program for young children during the summer of 2022, before leaving under a cloud of suspicion for unspecified behaviors, none of which could be substantiated, Superintendent Andrew Underwood said at the time.

As a result, Carey remained able to pass a background check and was hired for the substitute role at Belton Middle School.

After spending the holidays at the St. Joseph diagnostic and reception center, Carey quickly filed a handwritten appeal, received by the Cass County Circuit Court on Wednesday, Jan. 3.

In his appeal, Carey argued ineffective counsel, excessive sentencing and refusal to grant a change of venue as reasons to overturn his conviction.

“I was told by (defense attorney Michael) Mr. Crawford not to go to trial, to take the plea that would not result in the (unclear) time which I received. Mr. Crawford made an effort to have me evaluated by a (doctor) to reduce sentence.”

In regard to sentencing, Carey wrote, “For a first-time offender with little evidence against me, I was given a max sentence. By comparison to many similar cases that received minimum terms.”

Finally, he wrote, “My case was blasted on the media, TV and newspapers in multiple states. At my sentencing hearing, 50-70 people were outside campaigning against me. If ever a change of venue should’ve been granted, I should’ve received one. I was denied.”

Carey went on to say that he cannot afford an attorney and has asked for state-appointed counsel to represent him.

Following his arrest on the school-related charges, officers took possession of Carey’s cell phone and obtained a search warrant for the phone and Snapchat accounts belonging to Carey and an eighth-grade girl based on information they had been provided in a report taken by the school resource officer.

According to the affidavit, the school principal reported to the officer that the student had reported receiving “inappropriate pictures” from Carey, who had substituted at the school.

In a direct interview, the student told the officer that Carey had taught in one of her classes, and that she had gone to him and asked “How’s your day?” at one point.

She told the officer that he replied, “better since I’ve seen you now.”

She told the officer that she “thought he was cool,” and asked for his Snapchat name, which he provided, the affidavit said.

She told the officer she showed him her Snapchat, and added him as a friend.

After that day, after school, she received a message from him “stating ‘Hey’ or ‘Hi.’” She told the officer “the messages did not get ‘weird’ until Friday night,” when she allegedly received a message “stating ‘I don’t know if I should be telling you, but your body is beautiful,’ and ‘If you were here, I would be hugging you.’”

According to the affidavit, he messaged that he had had a dream about her, and that the dream involved the two of them involved in sexual activity. The message then went on to graphically describe the activity.

Officers than learned that several girls from the middle school spent the night together on the previous Friday night last September and that several girls were using their Snapchat accounts to communicate with Carey. Screenshots of those comments were observed by the resource officer during his initial investigation. He also obtained four videos from the victims, allegedly sent by Carey. In one of the videos, the suspect’s face is visible, the report said. Each of the videos featured a male individual involved in sexual activity.

During the investigation, officers discovered the existence of an additional female victim. An 8-year-old girl had told her mother that had shown her pornography during an overnight stay with her 10-year-old friend, the child of Carey’s roommate. The mother reported to police that the incident occurred in August of 2022.


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