Report alleges Missouri lawmaker had sex with intoxicated teen as on-duty cop

A report alleges Missouri Rep. Chad Perkins accepted sexual favors from a teenager while working as a police officer — allegations a local police chief has asked House Speaker Rob Vescovo to investigate.

Josh Baker, police chief in Frankford, a northeast Missouri town of about 300, wrote to Vescovo and other state officials last month urging them to look into the situation, which he called “ongoing criminal activity.”

The report and memo from Baker outline allegations that Perkins, a Bowling Green Republican in his first term, had sexual relations with the teen in 2015. At the time, Perkins was working at the Bowling Green Police Department.

The documents don’t provide her name or age. Perkins, now 42, said the relationship was consensual and with a 19-year-old woman. He said the report was political retaliation by Baker for failing to help his wife in an unsuccessful local campaign last year.

Through a House spokesman, Vescovo, an Arnold Republican, declined to comment other than to say he turned the matter over to the House Ethics Committee. House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, a Springfield Democrat, called the allegations “deeply troubling” in a statement.

“Although the girl was 19 at the time, his status as a law enforcement officer with authority over her cannot be overlooked,” she said. “We trust the committee to take whatever steps it deems appropriate in reviewing this matter.”

The report alleges Perkins had sex with the teenager after responding on duty to calls of a drunk teen at a park, and include messages purportedly between him and the 19-year-old in which she mentions having been drunk.

“Hey stop saying I offered to bang you the other night when you found me,” she purportedly wrote to Perkins in April, 2015.

After that, the messages show attempts by the two to meet up for sex. At one point the teenager wrote to ask Perkins for alcohol, and Adderall. In May 2015, the teenager wrote to Perkins, angry that he had shown their messages to another person.

“I’m sure you left out the part about us when you were on duty and I was drunk,” she wrote.

“I’m sorry,” he wrote. “Let me make it up.”

“Every one [thinks] I’m an awful person for doing that,” she wrote. “I will never forgive you.”

Perkins said the report was an attempt “to embarrass” him in retaliation for his refusal to help with Baker’s wife’s unsuccessful campaign for Pike County Assessor last year. He said the 19-year-old never reported the matter to Baker and that none of the sexual encounters occurred in the jurisdiction of Frankford, 15 miles away from Bowling Green.

Asked if the woman was intoxicated when they had sex, Perkins said, “I wouldn’t know if she was or not.”

“If she were, I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t answer that. I never bought anything for her.”

Baker worked until last September at the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, where Perkins was also working. Reached by phone, Baker declined to comment on the report but denied allegations it was politically motivated.

“The actual report in its origin was before anybody was even running for office,” he said.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported the allegations against Perkins on Thursday.

According to the report, the investigation into Perkins began when Baker and another officer, Joseph Minor, were working at the Pike County Sheriff’s Office in September 2019. Minor wrote that he received paper copies of the messages anonymously and reported them to Baker, his supervisor, who told him to tell Pike County Sheriff Stephen Korte.

Minor and Baker allege in the report that Korte created a hostile work environment by trying to protect Perkins because he was running for state representative. The Pike County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.

According to Baker’s Frankford police report, the issue resurfaced last July, when a gas station employee told him two girls came into the store with messages showing Perkins had sex with the teenager while on duty. The employee said they planned to report the matter as a sexual assault. The teenager did not respond to Baker’s inquiries for more information, he wrote.

Baker and Minor tried to report the matter to Pike County, state and federal prosecutors. The report includes purported emails in which a federal prosecutor wrote that she wanted to seek charges or a revocation of Perkins’ police certification but that the statute of limitations had run out.

In April, Baker sent the report to Vescovo, the Missouri Attorney General’s office, the Department of Public Safety and the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Chris Nuelle, spokesman for the Missouri Attorney General’s office, said his office received the information but “determined that we do not have any jurisdiction in this matter.”

Perkins is the latest Missouri lawmaker ensnared in controversy this year.

The House expelled Rep. Rick Roeber over allegations of child abuse and Rep. Patricia Derges faces federal criminal charges over allegations she fraudulently pushed stem cell treatments. Last year, the House reprimanded Rep. Wiley Price over allegations he retaliated against his staff for reporting that he had bragged about having sex with an intern.

Perkins is listed on the Pike County Sheriff’s Office website as the department’s D.A.R.E. officer, working with local schools on drug prevention education.

He said between the Bowling Green and Pike County departments, he worked a total of 20 years in law enforcement. He left the sheriff’s office when he won his election but “might continue to do some volunteering there.” His legislative biography states he works as an on-air radio host. It makes no mention of any work as a police officer.

He won a five-way Republican primary for the 40th District House of Representatives seat last August, getting 50.6% of the vote, and ran unopposed in the general election.

In his first term, he pushed legislation for police departments to participate in a statewide use-of-force database and work requirement rules for food stamps recipients. Lawmakers this year passed a bill that criminalizes police officers having sex with detainees. Perkins voted for it.