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Assault Charges Reduced to Harassment Days After Knox County School Arrests

According to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, criminal charges against three juveniles arrested at the Knox County R-1 School District on Monday, September 10, 2018, have been reduced from assault in the second degree, a Class C felony, to harassment in the first degree, a Class E felony.

According a representative of the Second Judicial Circuit Juvenile Office, which oversees all cases involving juvenile criminal offenses in Adair, Knox and Lewis counties, criminal charges are decided upon and brought by “officials” at the Juvenile Office, not local law enforcement or county prosecutors.

“Each juvenile case is dealt with by juvenile authorities based on the (legal) code that applies to young people of a certain age and below. Those cases are held in strict confidence. Juvenile officers typically work with law enforcement, school officials, parents,” said Patrick Williams, Court Services Administrator for the Second Judicial Circuit.

“This investigation is ongoing,” said Knox County Sheriff Robert Becker. “People need to give the system time to do its job.”

The Missouri Revised Statute for the crime of harassment is included below:

RSMo Chapter 565

565.090.  Harassment, first degree, penalty. — 1.  A person commits the offense of harassment in the first degree if he or she, without good cause, engages in any act with the purpose to cause emotional distress to another person, and such act does cause such person to suffer emotional distress.

2.  The offense of harassment in the first degree is a class E felony.

3.  This section shall not apply to activities of federal, state, county, or municipal law enforcement officers conducting investigations of violation of federal, state, county, or municipal law.

(L. 1977 S.B. 60, A.L. 2008 S.B. 818 & 795, A.L. 2014 S.B. 491)

Effective 1-01-17

(1981) Statute defining offense of harassment was not unconstitutionally vague, and was not overbroad and did not deny due process. State v. Koetting (Mo.), 616 S.W.2d 822.

1985) Held not unconstitutionally overbroad. The caller’s intent to disturb or frighten need not be the sole intent or purpose of the call. State v. Koetting (A.), 691 S.W.2d 328.

(1987) Four harassing phone calls made directly to an individual’s telephone answering machine falls within the purview of this section. State v. Placke, 733 S.W.2d 847 (Mo.App.).