Rep. Sheila Solon, the Republican chair of the House Children and Families Committee, said she believes the children of candidate Rick Roeber who have publicly accused him of abuse. Solon called on Roeber to drop his candidacy for state representative.
“These are very disturbing and upsetting accusations. I believe the victims. This isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue,” Solon told The Missouri Times. “It’s about protecting and believing children. His children are doing a very brave thing in speaking out. He needs to withdraw from the race for the sake of everyone.”
Rep. Shamed Dogan, a fellow House Republican, also echoed Solon’s sentiments.
Roeber’s children — who are now adults — accused him of assault, both sexual and physical, in a recent Kansas City Star editorial. Two alleged sexual mistreatment while another accused him of physical abuse. The alleged abuse occurred decades prior.
Roeber, who is the Republican candidate for HD 34, denied the allegations.
“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 said in a statement provided to The Missouri Times. “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.”
Jon Ratliff, the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) interim executive director, called the allegations “extremely concerning.”
“We take any allegation of child abuse very seriously,” Ratliff said in an email. “Abuse of any kind is never acceptable and will be met by a zero-tolerance policy by Republican Leadership and our Caucus.”
Roeber is running for the seat left open after his wife, Rebecca Roeber, died in 2019. He is an ordained pastor who has been vocal about his struggles with alcoholism in the past.
“I don’t like putting off until tomorrow what can be done today. She would understand that in the midst of my grief, it is important to me keeping her memory and legacy intact,” Roeber said when he announced his intentions to run for office.
Roeber faces Democrat Chris Hager in the upcoming election for HD 34.
“I am disgusted by the nature of the allegations made against Rick Roeber by his family,” Hager said in a statement. “I believe the survivors and respect their bravery in coming forward. These horrible acts can’t be condoned by entrusting a person that would so deeply abuse their children’s trust with the responsibilities and voice of elected office.”
“Mr. Roeber must end his campaign for state representative out of respect for the family he’s violated and every person whose trust he’s betrayed,” he said. “If he refuses, voters must reject Rick Roeber at the polls in November. There is no place for a child molester at any level of government.”
Roeber had more than $16,000 cash on hand as of the latest filings; Hager reported about $1,700 in his war chest.
I have a great deal of respect for my friend Rep. Solon, and I’m so grateful for her leadership in demanding Mr. Roeber drop out of the race. #moleg https://t.co/cdBBSVTyHc
— Keri Ingle (@RepKeriIngle) September 29, 2020
This story has been updated.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn was the editor in chief of The Missouri Times from 2020-2022. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at email@example.com.