Missouri House member recommended for expulsion for sexually abusing own children

Missouri Rep. Rick Roeber’s children and former wife testified to disturbing allegations of abuse, alcoholism and animal cruelty.

Earlier this year, three children of Missouri Rep. Rick Roeber testified against their father for the physical and sexual abuse they say he committed.

On Monday, following an investigation by the Missouri House of Representatives, the Missouri Ethics Committee unanimously agreed to expel Roeber from the House. Later this week, that measure to expel will go to a vote in the Missouri House, which needs a two-thirds majority to pass. 

Earlier this year, three children of Missouri Rep. Rick Roeber testified against their father for the physical and sexual abuse they say he committed against them.

Roeber, whose seat is in Missouri’s 34th House District,  was elected in November 2020. With the expulsion looming, the Republican legislator appears unlikely to finish his two-year term. 

Anastasia Roeber, Samson Roeber and Gabrielle Galeano, three of Roeber’s children, came forward with allegations in September 2020 when their father was running for Missouri’s 34th House District. In an exclusive with The Kansas City Star, two of them detailed their experiences. 

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“He made me place my hand on his genitals,”  said Roeber’s adopted daughter, Anastasia, recalling an incident in 1990 that happened when she was nine years old, one she told The Kansas City Star editorial board. Anastasia Roeber also shared that she did not tell her mother what happened until 1993: “He said, ‘You can’t tell anyone, I’ll go to jail, and the whole family will be in trouble.”

Galeano, told The Star she was aware of the abuse but did not speak to any she experienced first hand, and Samson Roeber said their father was frequently violent with them. The Washington Post reports that a fourth sibling who has not gone on the record said they were sexually abused in 1990 when they were five years old and shared their abuse with a therapist, who reported it to Jefferson County’s Division of Family Services. That investigation found “probable cause for sexual maltreatment of a child,” but Roeber was never charged. 

After the November 2020 election, the three Roeber children wrote a letter to Republican Missouri House Speaker Rob Vescovo imploring him not to allow Roeber to serve in the office. “Please do what is right, not just for us,” they urged, “but for all those in Missouri who have suffered, and all the children you have sworn to protect.” 

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That letter led to an investigation by the Missouri House, which started in December 2020. The Missouri Ethics Committee listened to the family’s testimonies from February to April of this year. 

In tandem with the abuse, Roeber’s children and his former wife, Michelle Keller, detailed a turbulent family life rife with alcoholism and violence, including an incident when Roeber “drowned a litter of puppies in a nearby pond.”

In his testimony, Roeber claimed that he struggled with alcoholism in the past, but he denied all allegations of physical and sexual abuse.

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