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Rick Roeber resigns from Missouri House

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Rep. Rick Roeber, who faces allegations of sexual and physical abuse from his now-adult children, has resigned from the House. His final day will be April 16, he said in an email to House Speaker Rob Vescovo Tuesday.

Roeber had been barred from sitting on the House Republican Caucus before the 2021 legislative session began, and the House Ethics Committee was tasked with investigating the allegations. His children accused him of both sexual and physical assault in a Kansas City Star editorial in September. Roeber had denied the allegations.

Vescovo and House Ethics Committee Chairman Travis Fitzwater said the committee will release its report next week but added they are “appalled by the disturbing details uncovered by the committee and ashamed of the way the system failed to protect them from harm.”

“Our caucus and our institution have a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who would endanger the well-being of a child, and it’s clear that Rick Roeber’s heinous actions make him not only unfit for office, but should also make him the subject of a thorough investigation by law enforcement,” Fitzwater and Vescovo said. “To that end, we have communicated with the appropriate law enforcement officials to share our concerns about the risk he may pose to other children.”

“With his resignation today, we take an important step to protect the integrity of the House as an institution, but it’s far more important that we do all we can to seek justice for his children and to ensure he never again causes harm to another child. His resignation allows him to walk away from his duties as a representative, but we cannot allow him to once again walk away from the children he victimized.”

Following news of his resignation, House Minority Leader Crystal Quade said Roeber “never should have sought public office.”

“Once elected, he should not have taken a seat in the people’s House. After forcing his children to relive their experiences, his resignation as state representative is overdue,” Quade said. “We commend the House Ethics Committee for listening to the survivors and helping to secure them some small measure of justice, and for raising concerns with law enforcement about his continued access to minor children. We also thank Speaker Vescovo for pursuing this matter to an appropriate resolution.”

In his letter to Vescovo, which was forwarded to House members Tuesday afternoon, Roeber said he and his “soon to be wife” are moving out of state “to be closer to our extended families.”

“I had no desire other than serving one legislative year to work on a highway bill that would memorialize Representative [Rebecca] Roeber, and to vote on some school choice bills. (The former seems to be in process and the latter became reality as the House passed ESAs and also Open Enrollment.) Unfortunately, a special election was never called so I was compelled to run for a two year term. So, after one legislative session, I have done what I set out to do in the Missouri Legislature in 2021.”

The letter did not address the allegations or the Ethics Committee probe.

Roeber narrowly won the HD 34 seat in November, overtaking Democrat Chris Hager by a mere 1.7 percent of the vote. The seat was left vacant after the death of his wife, Rep. Rebecca Roeber, in 2019.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Senate Minority Floor Leader John Rizzo and GOP Reps. Shamed Dogan and Shelia Solon, head of the Children and Families Committee, called for Roeber to be removed from the ballot ahead of Election Day.

“Decades ago, I suffered through a bitter divorce. In 2003, the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board (CANRB) concluded that all accusations were without merit and I was completely exonerated,” Roeber previously said in a statement. “Now, these same allegations are being brought up, just one month prior to my election. The desperation of Democrats and the Main Stream Media to discredit my campaign is deplorable and indefensible.”

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.