State rep charged with assaulting teen

St. Louis Post-Dispatch | August 6, 2008
By Tony Messenger

JEFFERSON CITY -- Missouri state Rep. Scott Muschany, R-Frontenac, was indicted today in connection with a reported sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl on May 17, the day after this yearís Legislative session ended.

The alleged victim is the daughter of a state employee. The girlís mother and Muschany -Ė who is married and has two children -- were romantically involved, the woman said.

A Cole County grand jury returned an indictment today charging Muschany with the Class C felony of "deviate sexual assault." The indictment identifies the victim only by initials. It says that on May 17, Muschany "had deviate sexual intercourse" with the girl, "knowing that he did so without" her consent.

Muschany, 42, was booked into the Cole County Jail today at 2:50 and he was released after posting a $5,000 bond. If convicted, Muschany faces a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison term of up to 7 years.

Muschany surprised many in political circles by announcing in late May that he was not running again this November. At the time he said he wanted to spend more time with his family.

The investigation into the reported assault of the girl was spurred by a call to the stateís child abuse hotline, according to a May 27 Jefferson City police report. An investigator for the state Childrenís Services department alerted the police department to a possible case of second-degree child molestation, the report says.

The three-page report, which includes no names of suspects or victims, says alcohol was a factor.

Muschany's attorney, Robert Haar of the St. Louis firm Haar and Woods, told the Post-Dispatch today that "the allegations are false and we believe the jury will conclude they are false."

Muschany could not immediately be reached for comment today. He has turned down several interview requests over the past two months.

On June 2, a reporter asked if he wanted to hear details in the police report. Muschany said: "Iím not interested in any details. Thatís just crazy." The next day, Muschany told the Post-Dispatch, "There is no investigation." He did not return subsequent phone calls.

On June 17, reached in person at his home, he declined to answer questions and threatened to call police if a reporter didnít leave his property. He has since refused to return repeated messages left on his cell phone.

The girlís mother, who owns the house listed on the police report, declined further comment.

Last Friday, the father of the girl filed a motion for temporary child custody in Cole County Circuit Court. In the filing he argued that the motherís "believed paramour was believed/alleged to have had inappropriate sexual contact with one of the minor children."

The document also alleges that the mother "did admit that the incident did take place, including her witnessing same."

Cole County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Richardson could not be reached for comment. He had previously declined to discuss the investigation into the alleged sexual assault.

Jefferson City Police Chief Roger Schroeder said that a narrative connected to the police report describes the details of the alleged assault, but that it was part of the investigative file and would be kept secret for now.

Neither police nor Cole County prosecutors would say whether Muschany has been questioned in the case. Police Capt. Mike Smith said in June that police had completed their investigation and turned the case file over to the Cole County prosecuting attorney.

The girlís father told the Post-Dispatch that his daughter told a sibling about the alleged assault a few days after it happened, and the sibling told the father on May 26, the father said. He called the child abuse hotline the next day.

"I believe what my daughter told me," the father said.

The girlís 17-year-old brother told the Post-Dispatch his mother told him she has known Muschany for about two years and that they had been seeing each other romantically for about a year. The woman is a former House employee who now works in a different department in state government.

The Post-Dispatch is not identifying the girl because of the nature of the allegation. The newspaper is also withholding the names of her mother, father and brother, who share the girlís last name. All three family members spoke to the Post-Dispatch without promises of anonymity.

On May 20, three days after the General Assembly finished its 2008 session, Muschany announced he was ending his reelection bid, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. At the time, Muschany said it was a decision he and his wife had made in early January, but he kept it from his colleagues so he wouldnít be a "lame duck" during the session.

Muschany has been seen by some as a rising star in the conservative wing of the Republican Party. He ran for majority floor leader in the House last year, but lost to state Rep. Steve Tilley, R-Perryville.

The owner and founder of engineering firm Trileaf Corporation, Muschany and his wife were licensed as foster parents with the Division of Family Services, according to his legislative biography.

Muschany was chairman of three House committees. This year, he was involved in the push to approve tax credits for autistic children who want to attend private schools. In 2006, Muschany was a co-sponsor of legislation that toughened sex offender laws.