The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

March 5, 2014

Man to stand trial in statutory sodomy case

A judge ordered a Carthage man bound over for trial Wednesday on a charge that he had sexual contact with an 8-year-old girl.

Associate Circuit Judge Richard Copeland, following testimony at a preliminary hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin, found probable cause for Christopher R. Versteeg, 34, to stand trial on a count of first-degree statutory sodomy.

The girl testified that Versteeg had her touch him inappropriately on more than one occasion last year.  She testified that she eventually told her stepmother and a school counselor about the incidents.

Detective Ed Bailey of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department told the court that a call placed to the state’s child abuse hot line led to an interview of the girl at the Children’s Center in Joplin.

Bailey said he asked Versteeg about the black shorts the girl said he was wearing each time, and the defendant showed him a pair of shorts with a hole in the pocket like the girl described. He said Versteeg acknowledged that the girl had reached in his pocket and touched him once on a weekend in April of last year. But Versteeg said she was trying to grab his cellphone, not complying with a request from him.

The judge set March 17 for the defendant’s initial appearance in a trial division of the court.

 

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