The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

January 31, 2014

Baxter Springs man removed from board post in wake of arrest

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — A Baxter Springs man was removed from his position as president of the Cherokee County Ambulance Board after he was arrested at his home Thursday by the Kansas Bureau of Investigations on charges of indecent liberties with a child, criminal sodomy and criminal threat.

Stanley Pickering, 79, who until Thursday also was a school crossing guard, is being held without bail at the county jail in Columbus. He also is serving as an appointed member of the Baxter Springs City Council.

Pickering was arrested after information given by a victim was obtained by the Kansas Department for Children and Families and the Baxter Springs Police Department, and then forwarded to the KBI, according to a release from town police.

Ron Costlow, director of the Cherokee County Ambulance District, on Friday said Pickering was removed from his position by a vote of the board of directors following news of his arrest. Costlow said Pickering had been on the board “for a long time,” and his position has been filled temporarily by the board’s vice president until a new president is appointed.

Dennis Burke, superintendent of schools, said Pickering had worked for the past year and a half as a crossing guard at Lincoln Elementary School, but that he resigned that job on Thursday.

Burke said the school’s online job application procedure comes with a service that includes a triple background check. It is standard, Burke said, for each employee’s background to be vetted by the FBI, KBI and local agencies.

A notice was sent to parents Thursday, informing them of the arrest. The notice stated that law enforcement officials told school administrators that none of the charges stemmed from anything that took place during the school day or on school property.

Pickering currently is serving as a 1st Ward City Council member after being appointed to fill a vacancy. He has run unsuccessfully for a 1st Ward post at least four times, and apparently has been appointed to vacancies on the council in the past, but the Globe’s efforts to obtain details of those appointments were unsuccessful Friday.

Detention order

Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves said a detention order was signed by a judge on Friday, keeping Pickering in jail until formal charges are filed. A spokesman for the Kansas attorney general said the investigation is continuing, but that he could not comment on the timeline for filing charges.

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