• Man gets five years probation on child molestation charges

  • If Jarred D. Elwood violates his probation, he will go to prison for 10 years.

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  • If Jarred D. Elwood violates his probation, he will go to prison for 10 years.
    But if he doesn’t, Elwood could live the rest of his days a free man.
    A judge on Sept. 1 sentenced Elwood to five years probation after he admitted to sodomizing, molesting and enticing a young girl.
    Elwood, 38, pleaded guilty in July to three felony counts. He pleaded guilty to first-degree statutory sodomy, child molestation, and enticement of a child.
    Jackson County Circuit Court Judge John Torrence accepted the guilty pleas.
    At the sentencing hearing, Torrence gave him 10 years in prison on the sodomy charge, seven years for the molestation and four years for the inticement.
    The sentences ran concurrently, meaning only the 10-year sentence would apply.
    Torrence suspended the sentence and placed Elwood on five years of supervised probation.
    He will serve the decade-long prison term only if he violates terms of the probation.
    The judge’s decision did not sit well with the victim’s family and friends.
    “I’m pretty much in shock and disbelief,” said Stephanie, the victim’s mother, who The Examiner will only identify by her first name. “He should be serving time.”
    Many of the details of what Elwood admitted doing to the girl cannot be published. Too graphic.
    Authorities began investigating the case in 2007. An investigator with the Missouri Department of Social Services received word from Stephanie and the victim’s friend that Elwood had been sexually abusing the girl since she was in first grade, according to court documents.
    The abuse consisted of touching each other and later progressed to them performing oral sex on each other, according to court documents.
    During an interview with authorities, the girl revealed Elwood forced her to watch pornographic movies.
    The girl is currently 17 years old and “doing amazing, really,” Stephanie said.
    The mother and daughter have both received extensive counseling to move on from the abuse.
    The abuse started in August 1997, when she was 5 years old.
    Elwood admitted at the plea hearing to abusing the girl from then until Aug. 28, 2004.
    The crimes happened at multiple homes in Independence.
    Jackson County prosecutors originally charged Elwood with a total of 14 felony counts, 12 of which were first and second-degree statutory sodomy. The other two were child molestation and inticement.
    Charges that were dropped after the plea agreement cited the abuse may have continued until June 2007.
    Stephanie said she was startled after learning Elwood was given probation.
    “I didn’t even know probation was even an option,” she said.
    The mother conferred with Elwood’s public defender prior to the sentencing hearing. The public defender asked her what she would like to see happen to Elwood, according to Stephanie.
    Page 2 of 2 - She said four or five years in prison, not probation, would suffice.
    “I felt that would give us time to move on,” she said.
    She and her daughter cannot totally get over the damage Elwood inflicted upon them. “It’s always going to be there,” she said. The anger, fear, sadness.
    Elwood had already done 14 months in Jackson County jail while his court proceedings lingered.
    Cyrilla Bender, founder of Mothers Outraged at Molesters, a non-profit group based in Independence, was appalled and dismayed by the sentence.
    “What concerns me is that the guy pleaded guilty to these charges,” Bender said. “You are saying you have done that crime. To be out loose on the street after you’ve done that to an innocent child. You should not have the right to be out on the street.”
    Torrence would not go on the record about his decision.
    The judge has received excellent marks from the Missouri Bar Association that cited high grades from jurors and attorneys about his performance.
    However, a court official close to the case said Elwood’s sentencing assessment report prepared by the state’s probation and parole board indicated a sentencing range to include probation if circumstances of the case were mitigating.
    Those circumstances cited by the report told the judge that Elwood would be compliant to intense treatment he will have to complete during probation. Also, the probability Elwood would reoffend was low, according to the court official who cited the assessment report.
    Although Stephanie wanted him caged, she doesn’t think Elwood is a threat to the community. She’s known him many years.
    “I don’t know if he’s really learned his lesson,” she said, “but I don’t think he would do it again.”
    Torrence concluded that Elwood does not “present a threat” to the community, according to the official.
    The probation includes very strict supervision. Elwood’s probation and parole office is located in Liberty in Clay County.
    That’s not good enough for Bender. “Are you going to watch him 24/7?” she said.

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