The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 19, 2013

Webb City teen’s disclosures lead to arrest

By Jeff Lehr

NEVADA, Mo. — A Vernon County man is being held in jail in Nevada on a $250,000 bond stemming from charges that he sexually abused a young boy over a four-year period.

Jay L. Peery, 44, of rural Nevada, was arrested last week on three counts of first-degree statutory sodomy after a lengthy investigation by the Vernon County Sheriff’s Department.

Court documents indicate that the alleged victim is an 18-year-old resident of Webb City. He first disclosed to authorities in April of last year sexual abuse that allegedly took place between 2001 and 2005, when he was between 7 and 11 years of age.

Webb City police informed the Vernon County Sheriff’s Department of the complaint at that time, but the alleged victim failed to show up for a formal interview with a sheriff’s investigator. The case was reopened in January when the teen informed the Sheriff’s Department that he was ready to move forward with the complaint, according to court documents.

The young man alleges that Peery abused him on multiple occasions and through various sexual acts over the course of the four-year period. A probable-cause affidavit states that the Webb City teen also provided information indicating there may have been other alleged victims of the defendant.

That information led to the interview of a female who disclosed that Peery allegedly fondled her through her clothing when she was between the ages of 6 and 8. She informed police of a second girl who may have been a victim of the suspect, but that girl declined to speak with an investigator about the matter, according to the affidavit.

Information developed by investigators led to the interview of a third girl, 7 years old, who is from another state and alleges that Peery molested her in the summer of 2011.

The affidavit states that during a videotaped interview Jan. 30, Peery confessed to abusing all four children. But the charges filed against him at this point pertain only to the male victim.