JEFFERSON CITY — A central Missouri sheriff facing charges that include harassment and stalking says that the allegations are baseless and that he plans to continue working.
Osage County Sheriff Michael Dixon said he plans to challenge the charges. He made the comments in statement released through his attorney.
Dixon, 27, became sheriff in January and previously was city marshal in Belle, also in Osage County. He was charged last week with misdemeanors for sexual misconduct, third-degree assault, harassment and stalking. He also was charged with a felony for tampering with a motor vehicle. The Phelps County prosecutor is acting as a special prosecutor.
Dixons attorney, Travis Noble Jr., said Dixon is adamant the charges are not true and that there may be political undertones to this thing.
The people of Osage County elected me to make changes. I have done so, Dixon said in the statement. Adding reliable new deputies and setting professional standards in the department has made Osage County a better and safer place and left some people used to the old ways pretty disgruntled, he said.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said in probable cause statements Dixon was hosting a party in June when he responded to a fight at a tire store in Belle. Someone identified as CM told investigators she was at the party and traveled with Dixon as he went to the store to see if local police needed help. CM said she was talking with the Belle police chiefs wife and felt Dixon place a flashlight between her legs, press it against her and then pull it back by running it up her backside.
The probable cause statement says a couple of days later Dixon went to CMs house around 12:30 a.m., told her fiance he needed to speak to her and eventually drove away on the fiances four-wheeler when she wasnt there even though the fiance said it was low on gas and it was illegal to ride the vehicle in Belle after dark.
The report says Dixon couldnt find CM and returned to her home, where he waited an hour before leaving. When CM got back to her residence later in the morning, she drew her gun and checked to make sure Dixon was not present, investigators said.
Authorities say Dixon made numerous and repeated comments about CM that were suggestive or sexual.
Missouri prohibits sheriffs from having a felony conviction. Dixon could face up to seven years in prison if convicted of the felony. One misdemeanor has a penalty of up to 15 days in jail and a $300 fine, while the others have a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Osage County is rural and east of Jefferson City.
Information from: Jefferson City News Tribune, http://www.newstribune.com