Rape suspect turns himself in to police

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

JACKSON, Mo. -- A man accused of statutory rape and incest turned himself in to police Monday after being charged with tampering with a victim.

Ronald E. Shumate Jr., 41, of Dutchtown, Mo., is charged with tampering with a victim, a class C felony.

When he learned of the new charge, Shumate called a local television station and arranged to turn himself in.

Sheriff's deputy Rhonda Westrich met Shumate at the Cape Girardeau Police Department and arrested him after he said on camera that he was an innocent man.

Police allege Shumate tried to bribe a victim on April 8 by giving her $1,000 and a car. He's accused of sexually molesting the teen-age relative between June and September.

A probable cause affidavit said the victim was asked to disappear and drop the charges in return for the money and car.

Police were alerted to the case in January when the girl, now 16, was admitted to a local hospital after attempting suicide.

She told police Shumate sexually abused her.

She said on the first occastion, he got her drunk at a truck stop in Scott City, Mo., and had sex with her in his tractor-trailer truck.

In addition to the new charge, Shumate also faces three counts each of statutory rape and incest. The former Southeast Missouri State football player was in Cape Girardeau County Jail on a $50,000 cash-only bond.

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