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House expels Rick Roeber following Ethics report

After an investigation, the Ethics Committee said Roeber sexually, mentally, and physically abused his children

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri House formally expelled Rick Roeber Wednesday. He is only the second state representative to be expelled in Missouri history.

“We believe the state has failed Rick Roeber’s family horribly,” Ethics chairman Travis Fitzwater said.

The House voted 153-0 to expel him after Ethics Committee members and House Speaker Rob Vescovo spoke in support of removal. Rep. Bruce DeGroot, an attorney, voted present. When contacted by The Missouri Times, he said he voted present “out of an abundance of caution due to a potential professional conflict.”

In a statement, Republican leadership said they hope law enforcement will investigate Roeber.

“With his resignation letter, Rick Roeber refused to acknowledge the irreparable harm he caused to his children and displayed no remorse for his despicable actions,” the statement from Fitzwater, Vescovo, Majority Floor Leader Dean Plocher, and Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann said. “Our Ethics Committee, the members of our leadership team, and the House as a whole were appalled by his lack of contrition, and disgusted by his continued efforts to avoid responsibility for his actions.”

“Today we voted overwhelmingly to expel him from this body because the offenses he committed make him unfit to serve. We cannot undo the inexcusable harm he did to his family, and we cannot change the fact his children have been failed by the state of Missouri for decades, but we can make sure their voices are heard and that this body sends a strong message in support of all victims of abuse.”

Earlier this week, the  House Ethics Committee formally recommended Roeber be expelled from the House after finding that he physically, sexually, and mentally abused his children when they were as young as 5 years old.

The committee said it found records and testimony confirming that one child was sexually abused at 5 years old and another was sexually abused at 9. The committee said it reviewed more than 200 pages of documentation of alleged abuse and sworn testimony from five witnesses, and the sexual abuse occurred in 1990.

The sexual abuse detailed to the committee constitutes a Class A felony, according to the report.

Rick Roeber’s name taken off of his old office in the Capitol. (THE MISSOURI TIMES/CONNER KERRIGAN)

Last week, the House rejected Roeber’s resignation so the committee could continue with its report. It had been investigating Roeber, a freshman Republican, who faced allegations of sexual and physical abuse from his now-adult children.

Roeber had been barred from sitting on the House Republican Caucus before the 2021 legislative session began. He narrowly won election to his late wife’s seat in November and denied the allegations against him. He has said he was an alcoholic but has not consumed alcohol since 1992.

The last time a member was expelled was in 1865 for being a secessionist.