By Allen Edmonds
HARRISONVILLE – While it has become somewhat commonplace for Associate Circuit Judge Mike Rumley to either reduce a bond request or reject a warrant application from Prosecuting Attorney Ben Butler’s office by spelling out his reasons publicly in the case docket, this week’s missive showed a level of frustration that exceeded past entries.
Butler’s office filed five statutory sodomy charges and one child molestation charges – all allegedly committed in the late 1990s and 2000 – against former Harrisonville resident Jack J. Gibb III, now 35. Gibb now resides in Greeneville, Tenn.
According to a probable cause statement written by a Harrisonville Police detective, a 22-year-old woman reported in 2012 – seven years ago – that she had been sexually molested as a child by a family friend. The case was investigated and presented to the Cass County Juvenile Office, “due to the belief at the time that all incidents happened when the perpetrator was under the age of 17,” according to the affidavit.
The Juvenile Office requested additional information for further action, “and for an unknown reason, the case unintentionally went undealt with,” the Harrisonville detective wrote.
The, in February 2018, the reporting party re-contacted the Harrisonville Police Department, according to the affidavit, questioning the status or outcome of the case. The original detective had retired, and the case was reassigned, the statement said.
The current detective re-interviewed the woman, who is now 28, and she described Gibb has a close family friend, “who she considered a cousin.” She said that when she was 7, 8 and 9 years of age, “Bubba,” as she called him, sexually molested him. She said it began when the defendant was 15, and he began groping her outside of her clothes.
She said the groping elevated to fondling under the clothes, and eventually to what she described as rape.
She said “Bubba” also forced her to perform sexual acts on him, according to the statement, and that it occurred at least every other week, and sometimes more often. She said during that period, the defendant was living with her family.
The detective said in the affidavit that he obtained written statements from the victim’s parents, who stated that they had questioned the defendant about the allegations, and that he had confessed.
The woman said she suppressed the molestation for years, and when she confronted the defendant about it, “he apologized to her and she also found out she had done the same thing to his sister,” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit was signed on Tuesday of this week, and submitted to the prosecutor’s office.
On Wednesday, Rumley fired back after reading the charging documents, ordering that Gibb be released on a signature bond once arrested. Other conditions included having no contact with either victim or any child under 17 and to appears in all court sessions as scheduled.
But, Rumley wrote, “Charging documents indicate the alleged offenses occurred between 1997 and 2000, some 19 or more years ago, and at the time the Defendant mwas between the ages of 15 and 17. The alleged victim reported the incidents to law enforcement in February 2012. For reasons unexplained to the Court the investigation by law enforcement was not pursued and charges were not filed by the Prosecuting Attorney until July 2017, over 7 years later.
“The Prosecuting Attorney has failed to provide the Court that the Defendant is a danger to the community or a flight risk. The Prosecuting Attorney has informed the Court that the Defendant has no criminal history and no history of failing to appear in Court,” Rumley wrote.
Most concerning, however, was a sentence reading, “The Prosecuting Attorney failed to inform the Court that the Defendant appeared in person at the Cass County Court on 07-09-2019 after being served a Summons to Appear. Defendant’s appearance upon the Summons indicates the Defendant is not a flight risk,” Rumley wrote.
Butler did not respond to an inquiry regarding the case, or Rumley’s contention.
No court date has been set in the case, and there is no record of a Tuesday appearance by Gibb in connection with the case.
Most felony case filings in Cass County go to Rumley in the Associate Circuit Court before moving to Circuit Court.