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Rod Jetton discusses his downfall, says he's returning to his religious upbringing

Sunday, July 31, 2011

After many self-inflicted wounds, Rod Jetton's life is healing, he says.

Approaching two years after accusations surfaced of an assault on a Sikeston, Mo., woman during a sexual encounter with her, the former Missouri House speaker wrote a blog about his personal and political free fall at therecoveringpolitician.com. It appeared July 22 and was the first time Jetton had addressed the issue publicly.

Jetton pleaded guilty May 27 to a reduced charge of misdemeanor assault with the admission he struck a woman in the face and choked her during sex at her Sikeston home in November 2009. The victim had previously testified in court that after finishing one glass of wine she started to drift in and out of consciousness.

Attorneys for the victim and for Jetton said they were ready to move on once the guilty plea was reached. That appears to be the case for Jetton, in some respects. While he still carries a tattered reputation, he says his life has become much more content recently.

Jetton, divorced about a month before the assault, has married again. He now works at a growing civil engineering company in Poplar Bluff, Mo., where he helps with sales, marketing and public relations plans.

A tumultuous era began, according to his blog, once he was elected as a state representative. Over time, his political pursuits and self-indulgence ruled, and ruined, his life.

In his personal essay, he detailed some of the reasons behind his rise and fall, how he got caught up in the power of political prestige and started believing the good things people were saying about him. The blog did not contain specifics regarding the assault situation, but he said he was living a double life.

Since the time his assault became public, Jetton says he was humbled and has since returned to his religious upbringing. His father is a Baptist minister who gave his son a lot of spiritual support when he hit bottom.

When asked by the Southeast Missourian at what point he felt he had to change his ways, Jetton said he had wanted to change long before the assault issue became public but did not do so.

"I made that decision many times when my marriage was falling apart or I was doing things my parents taught me not to do, prior to the assault charge, but I didn't act on that decision," he said in an email interview. "Clearly, when I called my dad and told him about the arrest it brought my mistakes out in the open and forced me to deal with my problems instead of trying to fix everything myself. Dad's faith and love helped me turn my life back to Christ. The personal and political problems I had been dealing with were hurting me because I was trying to handle everything myself instead of relying on Jesus, my family or friends to help.

"I was living a hypocritical life trying to be two people and deep down I wanted to get back on the right path, but I just didn't do it. The troubles God allowed my choices to put me in, gave me no other option but to fall on my knees and ask for help. While it was embarrassing and painful, getting things out in the open and not having to live a double life was a big relief."

Jetton acknowledged that some will question the sincerity of his renewed religious convictions.

"There is not much I can do to change my reputation," he said. "I made mistakes, I was a hypocrite. I only pray that my mistakes and bad example will not hinder folks from believing that God exists and that he can improve their life."

Jetton said he was approached by the founder of Recovering Politicians website to share his story, but there was no specific reason for the timing of his blog. He said he decided to join the site as a contributor to share honest opinions from those who had been on the inside and still want to have an effect on public policy outside of office.

Jetton said he's talked with "hundreds of folks and privately shared my story" about how his troubles returned him to his faith.

Judge Fred Copeland suspended the imposition of sentence, placing Jetton, 43, on probation and requiring him to pay restitution of $950 to the victim. He originally had faced felony assault charges. Jetton was also ordered to pay court costs of $414.50 to the New Madrid County law enforcement fund. Upon payment of the restitution and court costs, Jetton was to be released from probation, according to the plea agreement. His attorney said at the time that Jetton had paid the restitution and court costs following the court proceedings.

Jetton served as state representative for Missouri's 156th District from 2001 to 2009. He was speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives from 2005 to 2009, when he left because of term limits.

Jetton employed a brash style while House speaker, including calling out the governor during a speech. Some of Jetton's political methods are explained in an accompanying blog by former house member Jeff Smith.



Pertinent address:

Marble Hill, MO

Poplar Bluff, MO

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Is there some stupid reason that the Missourian turned this in to two stories? Jetton is a *******. He bullied those under him to vote for his positions. He used his campaign funds in a less than ethical manner with Jason Crowell. He fell from grace. Why are we reading this?

-- Posted by Marion_Morrison on Sat, Jul 30, 2011, at 8:41 PM

Check casenet. Jetton was not divorced about a month before the assault. More crap reporting from the Missourian. They reported what Jetton said, not what the facts were. His wife didn't even file until after the assault. What a load of nonsensical reporting by the Missourian.

-- Posted by Marion_Morrison on Sat, Jul 30, 2011, at 8:44 PM

I and others would like to know if they had "green balloons" at the wedding reception.

-- Posted by gman on Sat, Jul 30, 2011, at 9:37 PM

Now that Jetton has changed he might want to consider running for another public office. How about dog catcher? He might even want to become a television evangelist. Now there's an honorable profession that he might qualify for. Maybe he can get a quest spot with Jimmy Swaggert and after the service they can go pick up some chicks.

-- Posted by wolfwoman on Sun, Jul 31, 2011, at 7:11 AM

I am wondering why the SE Missourian would even bother to give this person any print time. Mr.Miller, this is not news worthy nor should you have wasted your time talking to a known liar and abuser. Shame on you and shame on you if Marion Morrison is correct.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Sun, Jul 31, 2011, at 7:21 AM

Oh sure why wouldn't we believe this liar has changed?

"He now works at a growing civil engineering company in Poplar Bluff, Mo., where he helps with sales, marketing and public relations plans."-

Please don't leave any women alone with this guy if he calls on your company.

-- Posted by grandma73 on Sun, Jul 31, 2011, at 8:34 AM

WAIT A MINUTE...BE FAIR HERE. The Missourian is actually being fair in its reporting here. It is not offering opinion in these articles on Jetton's "rehab project." It is simply reporting to what he is claiming he is doing and how it is being reported in other venues. The Missourian is not joining the bandwagon and saying this is credible, fantastic, etc.

The Missourian is simply reporting an event or series of events. Its readers are left to determine if its an appropriate and/or credible course by Jetton and the orginal web/video sites to take. The Missourian is reporting, its readers can decide. I commend it for taking such a detached, neutral reporting of events being engaged in now by Jetton with the assistance through other those venues.

-- Posted by casual_observer1 on Sun, Jul 31, 2011, at 2:52 PM

Same ol story here, when someone does wrong, they go find Jesus, and we are suppose to forget everything and just say "Oh good, now he's back in Church. All is forgiven." THIS is one of the reason I am so against churches and christians. Most of them just use God as a cover. They hide behind their church and act like they are ultra holy, and some how extra special. All because they sit their butts in a Church pew, and pay their entry fees into heaven every sunday. All the while they the sneak around and do bad things in the dark. I make sure to do all my bad stuff in the open, for all to see. Every knows what they are getting with me. I don't need a religion to hide my sins. I share them with the world! Jetton is the same today as he was two years ago. Going to church just suppresses the sin for a time. But it's still there inside him, larking about, waiting it's time to come out. Just going to church and saying your a Christian doesn't really do anything. In the end, a lot of people are going to be surprised to find so many Christians in Hell.

-- Posted by timexx on Sun, Jul 31, 2011, at 4:17 PM


Way to label every single Christian in the world... Maybe he has changed, maybe he hasn't. Not everyone is like him. It's easy to point the finger when someone makes mistakes, but people can change and some do. Have you heard of Teen Challenge?? Look it up, may do you some good. The problem with this world-everyone is smarter than God, they don't need God because they have it all figured out.

-- Posted by Shibney on Sun, Jul 31, 2011, at 7:43 PM

"- he's returning to his religious upbringing." Sorry Rod, but that shouldn't be like returning to a previous address. Yes, people are sometimes exposed to religion as a child and yes, the may go around spouting it. But, TRUE religion is more than that - it's internal, you can't just decide to be religious. Going to church or reading the Bible just won't quite get you there.

timexx is right in his assessment of people hiding in a ruse of religion. And Jetton has now publicly said he plans to do just that. Shoot even timexx, who is anti-Christian and anti-church believes in some form of religion or he wouldn't be talking about Christians in hell.

-- Posted by malan on Sun, Jul 31, 2011, at 8:06 PM

The one who needs to believe in God and prayer is his new wife! Some general background on her would be nice. It's not exactly like she has an expectancy of total anonymity when she married someone with his past positions of power and controversy. She is obviously a key component of this super-deluxe "reputation rehab project."

Does anyone else get the feeling this is just too much too soon? Like it's a little staged? I know someone may tell me that the Lord works in mysterious ways, and I no evidence to the contrary.

BUT, I also have been to the zoo enough to know a leopard's spots don't wash off in the rain. The legal case disappeared because the witness has a history that would have made her bad witness. From the text messages, there was no dispute Jetton wanted rough sex. Men who get off slapping women around and doing everything he did in the Legislature to others do not wake up one morning and decide they will just work for a civil engineering firm and put all that behind them.

I'm sure God and church attendance will help, but a highly-qualified psychiatrist (combined most likely with medication) and a lot of time will be necessary to bring him around to a safe, civil human being. His amateur self-analysis is entertaining at best. He needs world-class professional help. (God made psychiatrists and scientists too remember).

What does Jetton's former roommate and financial supporter State Sen. Jason Crowell think about this situation? He was "close" to him and probably knows what he is capable of as well as anyone. Plus he just served as his lawyer recently. I wish Jetton the best in the long-run. At least in the short-term, lets not fool ourselves, and let's not help him fool himself.

-- Posted by casual_observer1 on Sun, Jul 31, 2011, at 9:32 PM

casual_observer1: Leopard spots may not wash off but Jesus blood covers a multitude of sins and washes the sinner white as snow.

Jesus Christ DOES transform and change lives:

Jacob was a liar

Noah was a drunk

David was an adulter and murderer

Tamar seduced her own father in law

Rehab was a harlot

Saul (who later became Paul) persecuted and killed Christians.

The list could go on and on.

We cannot in our own flesh (power) live a life that is pleasing to God---

My prayers are with Rod Jetton as he strives to become more like Jesus.

With regard to his publicized SIN----Almighty God has already forgiven and forgotten. Who the hell are we to keep hanging on to it.

Lets those of us who are without sin cast the first stone.

-- Posted by bluejay_fan_natic20 on Sun, Jul 31, 2011, at 9:56 PM

Shibney- Thanks for your reply. But for the record I never tried to to label "every single Christian in the world". If you read I clearly said "Most of them". I do have several friends who are followers of Jesus, and they are very nice, loving and caring people. However I also know a lot that are just using the name as a cloak to hide their own evil ways. For every "Good Christian" on your list. I can show you three Bad Ones. I've never had trouble with people who have belief in religious ideas. I have trouble with the ones that claim The Lord in the daytime, and live like the devil at night. I am against the fanatical overly zealous aspects of any religion. I'm against those who preach mightily from the pulpits about the actions of others, while turning a blind eye to their own actions. Jesus himself was against the dens of thieves he found here calling themselves, Holy. Just take a look at all of the atrocities that Historical Christians have done "In the name of their God" falsely. But we are all expected to over look those crimes against humanity. Like a Illinois Nazi trying to over look the Holocaust, the Christians expect us to pretend that they never killed Children in the name of Jesus. But they did. Christians are always the first to tell others how they should live their lives. They are quick to point fingers at others, and run around say "Oh look at those sinners over there. Look at what they do, and how they live. How special are we that live above all the others around us. See how much better we are, then those who are lost and can't see OUR true way." If you want to REALLY follow Jesus, give away ALL you stuff, go about your life just doing good for other people. Go wash some feet, then come back and tell me why Christians are special. Very few Christians truly live the life Jesus wants. The Motivation of most of today's Churches and their False Prophets Is Money. Think about it, Jesus didn't have shoes, and had to walk at night because he lived in the dessert, But he REALLY wants your church to have a basketball court. When they were nailing spikes into his hands I'm quit sure, Jesus was thinking, "MAN, I hope after all of this, some preachers can drive big fancy cars!"

Also thanks for asking, but Yes, I have heard of Teen Challenge. And make no mistake that it is a much different organization now, from what Nicky Cruz originally started. That group has plenty of it's own dirty little secrets hidden behind it's camp walls.

-- Posted by timexx on Mon, Aug 1, 2011, at 5:58 AM

timexx: Get the log out of your own eye before you go looking for the speck in your brothers. The fact that your "sins" are out in the open does not make them any less grevious than those that are hidden. Like I said in my earlier post We cannot in our own flesh (power) live a life that is pleasing to God---following Jesus does not mean we are sinless---if we could be exactly like Him without sin He would not have had to die on the cross.

There are no sins too grevious that is beyond the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. I will let you in on a little secret---If Hitler himself truly repented and asked Jesus for forgiveness and MEANT it with every ounce of his heart and soul then God would be faithful and just to forgive him.

Malachi 3:10 says "10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it."

The Lord commands that we give to the church. Once we give the tithe then those in authority are held accountable on how that tithe is used.

-- Posted by bluejay_fan_natic20 on Mon, Aug 1, 2011, at 9:15 AM

Really? A whole page of the Sunday Missourian devoted to TWO corrupt politicians--Jeff Smith a Democrat, and Rod Jetton, a Republican. And to run Rod Jetton in two more issues? Was it a slow news day in Cape?

-- Posted by BoCoDem on Mon, Aug 1, 2011, at 11:39 AM

bluejay_fan_natic20- I think your a bit naive in your assumptions about God and Hitler. I don't believe in these "Death Bed Acceptances' of Jesus". I think there comes a point when as humans we get too far beyond even the reach of God. I don't think a person that lives their life's doing wrong, and hurting others can magically slide into heaven on the last minute. The pedophile who rapes and kills a mother, and her seven year old daughter will not be in heaven under any circumstance. I think God has a master plan for each of us and our lives, I think he knows the obstacles we will each encounter before we get to them. But I think in the end he judges us on how we over come them, and by what we learn from them. He looks at what we do to, or for, others around us. Merely saying "Sorry" isn't good enough. We are judge in the end by the life's that we live while we are here. Not by some magical prayer that can be spoken by anyone at the last minute and be saved.

I also think to many Christians today worship at the alter of bankers more than Jesus. And in the end will hear. "Depart from me You knew me not." When the love of money and greed become your God, then you are no longer doing the work he wanted for you. And warming a seat in a church is just not enough. Doesn't matter how much you spend in church, or how many Jesus Loves You shirt you own. You simply can not buy your way into heaven. I have never claimed to be perfect. I sin all the time and fall short, but I am always trying to get better. I don't say "hey everyone, Forgive me, and all I've done, because, I'm now in Church. So now I'm perfect again." Sin is a addiction, you can hide it away, and pretend it's not an issue any longer, but it always comes back at some point. I think God will judge more harshly those who go about doing wrong, but use his name as a cover. God does have a temper, Jesus was known to knock over a table or two when he was here. He spoke out against those who claimed to be connected to God. And warned us to be watchful of those who claim to work for him.

-- Posted by timexx on Mon, Aug 1, 2011, at 4:41 PM

Really? A permanent link to Rod Jetton's blog? Unbelievable...wow just wow.

-- Posted by mobushwhacker on Sun, Aug 7, 2011, at 4:33 AM

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Former Missouri House speaker Rod Jetton gives advice for young politicians

With the context of a "double life" that cost him his political career, public embarrassment and criminal punishment, former House Speaker Rod Jetton, formerly of Marble Hill, Mo., gave the following response when asked what advice he'd give to young politicians in conjunction with an interview with the Southeast Missourian:

1. Make sure you stay close to good friends who knew you before you were in politics, and talk to them regularly. Making one an accountability partner would be a good idea.

2. Make sure you don't put helping other people in front of your own family.

3. Don't let the bad things your opponents say about you or do to you make you bitter and harbor grudges.

4. Constantly guard against believing all the great things people say about you. Pride can quietly creep in.

5. Be helpful and trusting, but realize that in politics there are no teams. Most everyone is using you to accomplish their goals.

6. Keep your first campaign material around and review it at least twice a year and ask yourself if you're letting your ambition or the system change you.

7. Be open minded, and willing to learn, because our system is set up to force compromise, which when done to advance your principles can be good. Be careful that you are not compromising because of self interest, or personal ambition. Many times you tell yourself it's for your principles but really it's your self interest and ambition that drive you.

8. Don't let flattery soften you to compromise your core values.

9. Fight for your values, but be respectful of others' opinions, and less judgmental. Treat others as you would want to be treated.

10. Thank the Lord for each day and ask him to give you wisdom to make good decisions. Missing one day leads to two then three and you will be busy doing good things, which can push God out of your life leading down a path and poor decisions.

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