Mo. town’s top officer faces child sex charges

admin Contributor

FREDERICKTOWN, Mo. (AP) — The top police officer in a remote Missouri town, a giant of a man who was also a Boy Scout leader, has been accused of sexually assaulting two boys, videotaping the acts and then destroying the recordings.

Kenneth Tomlinson II, 42, was arrested Tuesday and charged with 16 counts of sodomy. Authorities say he admitted having sex with the two boys, who are now 12 and 14. Tomlinson was jailed in Cape Girardeau County on $100,000 cash-only bond. Court records indicated he did not yet have an attorney.

Tomlinson joined the police department in Fredericktown — a community of 4,100 about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis — as a patrolman in 1997. He was promoted to captain, the top job, in April.

Mayor Danny Kemp, who said he was “floored” by the news of the captain’s arrest, said the progress Tomlinson made while supervising six full-time officers was impressive.

“He turned the department around,” Kemp said, inside his office just off the town square. “He was a great leader.”

But Vicky Manche, who owns an A&M Restaurant downtown, said teens derisively referred to Tomlinson — described by one city worker as 6-foot-2 and about 450 pounds — as “Baby Huey.”

“They ought to string him up,” Manche said. “It’s really pitiful when you put your trust in somebody and this happens. My grandsons are Boy Scouts so this hits close to home.”

Manche’s grandsons were not part of Tomlinson’s troops, and it was not known if the alleged victims were either.

The two boys told authorities that the sexual abuse began last spring. One boy is 12, but was 11 when it began, he said. The other is 14.

A probable cause statement from the Missouri State Highway Patrol said Tomlinson admitted to having sex with the boys and videotaping some of the acts. The statement said Tomlinson and the boys viewed the video on the camera screen, then he destroyed the recordings.

Joe Mueller of the Boy Scouts of America’s Greater St. Louis Council said he didn’t know if the victims were members of Tomlinson’s Boy Scout or Cub Scout troops. He said Tomlinson had led the troops in Fredericktown since 1998. His association with scouting has been revoked, Mueller said.

“Our heart goes out to the families of the children involved in the allegations,” Mueller said. “We have made it a fundamental part of our organization to protect youth members and adult leaders as well.”

Kemp said Tomlinson had no previous criminal record. He has been placed on unpaid leave from the department until the case is adjudicated. Sgt. Jason Gordon has taken over as interim leader of the department.

At the Mills Barbershop across from City Hall, owner Jane Mills said some of those getting haircuts found the allegations too difficult to talk about. Those who discussed it were mostly in shock, she said.

“It’s very concerning because he’s a policeman and a scout leader,” she said. “It’s very sad, and it’s an embarrassment that something like this could happen.”