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Jonathan Schumm, Topeka city councilman, appears in court with handcuffs, notes children's removal from home


Jonathan and Allison Schumm, who were arrested Thursday night, were wearing 'suicide smocks' Friday in court

By Steve Fry


Topeka Councilman Jonathan Schumm and his wife appeared in court Friday wearing handcuffs and jail-supplied “suicide smocks” to answer for the first time charges of child abuse and aggravated battery.

Jonathan and Allison Nicole Schumm, who have 16 children ranging from about 1 year old to about 20 years old — of whom four are biological, two are in foster care and 10 are adopted — were arrested and charged Thursday. They were booked into the Shawnee County Jail and posted bond about 1:30 p.m. Friday.

For the first time, Jonathan Schumm acknowledged during the court proceeding before Shawnee County District Judge William Ossmann that the couple’s children were removed from the Schumm family home at 2713 S.E. Michigan in the Highland Park area.

“We just hired an attorney for the kids being removed,” Jonathan Schumm said, responding to Ossmann’s question as to whether Jonathan Schumm could afford to hire an attorney.

Allison Schumm said she had hired Topeka attorney John Washburn to represent her. “I’m not at liberty to discuss that,” Washburn said outside the courtroom about the status of the couple’s case regarding the removal of the children. “Those proceedings are confidential.”

Kansas law forbids the district attorney’s office from acknowledging a child-in-need-of-care case has been filed or when the hearings in those CINC cases are being conducted.

Inmates are required to wear handcuffs if considered a safety risk or a behavior problem, said Maj. Tim Phelps, county department of corrections spokesman. Most inmates making first appearances aren’t wearing handcuffs.

The Schumms also were wearing “suicide smocks,” which are outfits made of heavy fabric bound by Velcro to prevent shredding of jail clothing to use in an attempt to harm themselves.

The Schumms are ordered not to have contact with the witnesses or victims, Ossmann said.

Aly Van Dyke, city spokeswoman, said Friday that city officials were conducting legal research on what the law says about the conduct of a council member who has been arrested.

“At this time, he’s still a council member,” Van Dyke said of Jonathan Schumm.

Van Dyke said a meeting of the city’s three-member economic and community development committee, of which Schumm is a member, was rescheduled from Friday to December.

The meeting originally was to have been at 10 a.m. Friday, but it was rescheduled to 10 a.m. Dec. 4 so that all members can attend, Van Dyke said.

The Schumms were arrested and booked into jail Thursday night, apparently at their home, a jail official said.

The couple was arrested in connection with aggravated battery and other offenses in which the victims were children. The Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office filed the charges Thursday.

Jonathan Robert Schumm, 34, was arrested in connection with one count each of aggravated battery and, as an alternative, abuse of a child (torture or cruelly beating a child younger than 18), which is alleged to have occurred between Oct. 7 and Oct. 11, and four counts of endangering a child, which is alleged to have occurred Oct. 31.

The abuse of a child charge carries a longer sentence than the aggravated battery charge.

The aggravated battery and abuse of a child charges are felonies, and the child endangerment charges are misdemeanors.

Allison Schumm, 32, was booked into jail in connection with the same offenses as her husband, a jail official said.

But in Allison Schumm’s case, she is charged as aiding or assisting her husband in the aggravated battery charge, the judge said. In this case, aggravated battery is defined as knowingly using a weapon to cause great bodily harm, disfigurement or death, according to the charges.

The bond for Jonathan Schumm was $35,000 cash or surety bond, and Allison Schumm’s bond was $20,000 cash or surety, a jail official said.

Jonathan Schumm was born in Topeka, grew up in Manhattan and returned to Topeka in 2007, when he became a resident in the Highland Park area.

He is an employee of the Modern Woodmen of America, a fraternal insurance company. In April, Schumm was elected as the councilman representing the fourth district in southeast Topeka.

During the April election, he defeated opponent Les Parrish 793-590.

On Nov. 4, the Kansas Department for Children and Families requested help from Topeka police in connection with “an investigation being conducted by their office in regards to allegations of physical abuse involving children,” the city statement said.

In turn, the Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office was notified of the investigation by Topeka police and social workers from DCF.

Steve Fry can be reached at (785) 295-1206 or steve.fry@cjonline.com.
Follow Steve on Twitter @@TCJCourtsNCrime.

2015 Nov 20