Ex-probation officer charged with rape and sexual abuse

Sunday, January 5, 2003

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A former Johnson County, Kan., probation officer has been accused of soliciting sexual favors from four Missouri women in return for favorable treatment.

Randall Nester, 35, of Kansas City, Kan., was charged Friday with forcible rape, sexual abuse, four counts of acceding to corruption by a public servant and four misdemeanor counts of sexual misconduct.

He was jailed Friday on $125,000 bond in Jackson County, Mo., where he worked in a Kansas City satellite office of the Johnson County probation department.

Police said Nester denied the accusations Friday, then declined to comment further until he could consult with a lawyer.

Jackson County prosecutors said the offenses occurred between April 2001 and August 2002 at Nester's office or during visits to the women's homes.

Home visits are a normal part of a probation officer's job, but officers are supposed to be accompanied by a partner, said Michael Youngken, director of the Johnson County Department of Corrections.

Nester began working for Johnson County in December 1997 and left the department on Sept. 30, 2002. Youngken said he could not discuss the case against Nester nor the reasons for his departure from the job.

An officer from the sex crimes unit of the Kansas City Police Department began investigating the allegations in October 2002.

Jackson County Prosecutor Michael Sanders said the corruption charges alleged that Nester solicited sexual contact in return for favorable treatment.

"What's perhaps the most troubling about this case is that he preyed upon the most vulnerable victims," Sanders said. "He calculated that they would not be believed or they would be too afraid to report their victimization."

According to court records, two of the women -- a 19-year-old from Independence and a 32-year-old whose residence was not identified -- claimed that Nester fondled them in his office.

A 43-year-old Kansas City woman said Nester made sexual advances toward her in her home. When she reported to Nester's office the following week, she said, he followed her into an elevator, where he fondled her and kissed her.

The woman said that a few weeks later, Nester told her to meet him in the office stairwell. There, she said, he raped her and warned that if she told on him, "her probation wouldn't be easy."

Nester is also accused of groping a 33-year-old Kansas City woman during a visit to her Kansas City home last August. During a later office visit, the woman said, she asked Nester about an early release early from probation and was told he would make such a recommendation and that "we could hook up."

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