Politics & Government

Missouri's ex-Speaker of the House Jetton charged with assault

Rod Jetton, one of the most influential figures in Missouri politics, was charged Monday with felony assault against a woman in Sikeston, Mo., last month.

Scott County Prosecutor Paul Boyd filed the second-degree assault charge against Jetton, once speaker of the Missouri House and now a well-connected political consultant. Word of the charges surged through political circles, as Jetton has been a key consultant and adviser for more than a dozen candidates and officeholders.

The felony complaint alleges Jetton, 42, caused serious physical injury to the woman "by hitting her on the head and choking her, resulting in unconsciousness and the loss of the function of a part of her body" during an encounter Nov. 15 and 16 in Sikeston.

A warrant was sought for the arrest of Jetton, who lives in Marble Hill and has an office in Jefferson City. He was not in custody Monday night, according to the Scott County Sheriff's Office.

Attempts to contact Jetton through his office were unsuccessful, and a phone call to the woman involved was not answered. Boyd declined to comment, as did the Sikeston city authorities.

Cape Girardeau attorney Stephen C. Wilson, who is representing Jetton, said in a written statement that the former speaker is not guilty.

"Mr. Jetton was shocked and surprised when first advised of the allegation made against him," Wilson said. "Now that a complaint is filed in court, Mr. Jetton's only comments are that he is not guilty, and will vigorously defend this allegation in court and not in the media."

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