Jason Rima

Constitutional Amendment Allows More Evidence In Child Sex Abuse Cases

By Jason Rima

CREATED OCT. 3, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Prosecutors and the parents of molestation victims are supporting a proposed Missouri Constitutional amendment that would allow evidence of past criminal behavior to be used in child sex abuse prosecutions.

Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd says Missouri is unusually restrictive in what it allows prosecutors to tell jurors.

The Kansas City Star reports that Zahnd wrote the proposed amendment that will voters will consider in fall 2014.

One Platte County case illustrates how the issue plays out in court.

Fifty-four-year-old Daryl D. Lemasters was sentenced in August to 180 years in prison for repeatedly sexually assaulting two girls.

Their mother says Lemasters might have been persuaded to plead guilty and spared her daughters the ordeal of testifying if prosecutors had been able to tell jurors about previous allegations.