The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

April 8, 2014

Ex-councilman, crossing guard pleads guilty to child molestation

COLUMBUS, Kan. — A former Baxter Springs city councilman and school crossing guard pleaded guilty Tuesday in Cherokee County District Court to six counts of having sexual contact with children.

Stanley Pickering, 79, was wearing orange Cherokee County Jail garb and shackles around his ankles as he waived his preliminary hearing and pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated indecent liberties, one count of aggravated criminal sodomy and one count of aggravated indecent solicitation. Sentencing is scheduled for June 2.

The charges involved acts with three children, all younger than 14, in a time frame extending from July 2003 to August 2012. Two of the charges of aggravated indecent liberties fall under the state’s Jessica’s Law, which carries a mandatory life sentence without opportunity for parole for 25 years.

If Pickering receives the minimum sentencing requirement on the remaining charges, it would add nearly 300 months to his time in prison.

Pickering was arrested Jan. 30 at his home after information given by a victim to the Kansas Department for Children and Families and the Baxter Springs Police Department was forwarded to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

He pleaded guilty one week after the April 1 election in Baxter Springs, where was unopposed for a 1st Ward council post from which he resigned on the day of his arrest. A write-in candidate was elected to the post.

Pickering also resigned from his job as a school crossing guard on the day of his arrest.

Details surrounding the charges were not discussed in court Tuesday.

No bond

STANLEY PICKERING had been held in the Cherokee County Jail on a $300,000 bond since his arrest in January. District Judge Kurtis Loy on Tuesday revoked that bond and ordered Pickering held without bond until his sentencing.

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