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Missouri House expels member for first time since Civil War

The Missouri House on Wednesday voted unanimously to expel Rep. Rick Roeber of Lee’s Summit. His House legislative page has already been wiped clean.

He allegedly abused his four adult children when they were younger. The last time a member of the Missouri House was expelled was during the Civil War. In 1865, the chamber ousted John Sampson of Callaway County.

Roeber had already announced his resignation last week. He had won the seat left open when his wife Rep. Rebecca Roeber died a year after injuries suffered in an automobile accident.

The Missouri House Ethics Committee released a report this week with testimony from Roeber’s ex-wife and three of his children. Two of the children were allegedly sexually abused, and two others reported being physically abused. They talked about how his abuse, alcoholism and manipulation have destroyed their family.

“We believe the state has failed Rick Roeber’s family and horribly,” Ethics Committee Chairman Fitzwater said. “They are broken with a part of their lives — the most important, impactful moments as children a scourge on their memories. The abuses this family endured are to this day devastating, followed by years of counseling and broken pieces of lives that are yet to be put back together and likely never will.”

Fitzwater said the committee believes the children.

“They’ve told a consistent story for decades with corroborating documents from several different sources,” he said. “The representative, on the other hand, did everything he could to avoid discussing these events, could not recall them, defiantly disrespected the committee and our process, and blamed others for his conduct years ago — never willing to even one time take any level of responsibility for the brokenness and the lives of his children and family.”

Speaker Rob Vescovo, encouraged members to vote to expel Roeber.

“I think as representatives in this body and as parents, or aunt or uncles, or grandparents, we all understand that the one safe place the unconditional place that is the safety net for our children is their home,” he said. “That is the one place that they should feel protected.”

Roeber had admitted to “waywardness,” including past drug addiction, and an on-again, off-again faith. As late as the summer of 2020, Roeber’s website, which has now been altered, claimed he was an ordained pastor at Abundant Life Church and the former chaplain at Kansas City Rescue Mission.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice