Monday, December 01, 2008

Former Collins mayor pleads guilty to sexual misconduct

Former Collins Mayor Allen Kauffman pleaded guilty today in Newton County Circuit Court to an amended charge of sexual misconduct or attempt involving a child under 15.
Judge Timothy Perigo ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set a 9:30 a.m. Jan. 23 sentencing date.

Sources close to the Newton County Prosecuting Attorney's office indicate it will push for prison time for Kauffman, most likely citing Kauffman's conviction earlier this year on sex charges in Cole County.

In both counties, Kauffman was caught by internet sex stings. In Newton County, he became the latest in a long series of those caught by Diamond police officer Jim Murray. Ironically, it was not a regular sting, but a training session which brought about Kauffman's arrest.

Kauffman, who is also a minister, was initially charged with three counts of enticement of a child.

Newton County prosecutors do not intend to follow the lenient policy of Cole County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Richardson, which was detailed in the Aug. 21 Turner Report:

Another recent Cole County case has been pretty much overlooked. Former Collins Mayor Allen Kauffman also pleaded guilty and was given a suspended sentence almost before the process in his case had even started. Cole County Circuit Court records indicate Kauffman was bound over for trial and then pleaded guilty on July 21, the date of his arraignment, a speed almost unheard off in Missouri courts.

And who could blame Kauffman for jumping quickly at the sweetheart deal offered by Richardson? Kauffman, facing a charge of sexual misconduct involving a child younger than 14, received a suspended sentence, was placed on supervised probation for five years, must complete 100 hours of community service, and have "no internet use." He has also been required to register as a sex offender. Kauffman was also caught in a sting as he tried to arrange sex with an underaged girl.

Richardson's plea arrangement with Kauffman might be understandable if this offense was an isolated incident, but according to circuit court records, it took Richardson more than a year to file charges against Kauffman. The crime Kauffman committed occurred March 21, 2007, according to court records. It took nearly a year and two months, until May 14, 2008, for Richardson to file charges.

What makes this omission even more glaring is that it allowed Kauffman to continue to attempt to lure underaged girl for sex, according to charges filed against him in Newton County. A Dec. 3, jury trial is scheduled in Newton County Circuit Court for Kauffman, who faces three felony charge of attempted enticement of a child. Kauffman was caught in one of Diamond police officer Jim Murray's internet sex stings. The crimes allegedly took place Nov. 16, Dec 11, and Dec. 12, 2007. It took less than a month after the Dec. 12 date for former Newton County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Watson to file charges against Kauffman. Despite these felony charges in Newton County, it took another four months for Cole County Prosecutor Richardson to get around to filing charges against Kauffman.

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