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Schumm denies striking 12-year-old son with belt, choking him


City councilman filed objection to suspending him from office, answers to ouster petition

By Steve Fry


Jonathan Schumm characterizes a case to strip him of his Topeka city councilman’s seat as “an accusation that he was overly zealous in disciplining his children.”

Schumm’s defense attorney, Thomas Lemon, filed an objection to suspend Schumm from his city councilman’s post and filed answers to a petition seeking to oust Schumm from office.

In the answers, Schumm denies repeatedly striking his 12-year-old son with a belt, lacerating an eye and a hand, then choking him with his hands and threatening to kill him. Schumm also denied committing aggravated battery or the alternative charge of abuse of a child.

Finally, Schumm denied he violated statutes involving moral turpitude or engaged in misconduct while in office, Lemon wrote.

By “violating” Kansas statutes outlawing aggravated battery and abuse of a child, Jonathan Schumm “violated penal statutes involving moral turpitude and/or willfully engaged in misconduct while in office,” the petition seeking the suspension and ouster of Schumm said.

Violating statutes involving moral turpitude is one of four grounds for ousting a public official from office.

Citing violence in which the 12-year-old son was struck with a belt, then choked, Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor and senior assistant district attorney Todd Hiatt filed a civil action to first suspend Schumm as a city councilman, then to oust him from office.

Schumm, who was elected as a city councilman in April to represent a southeast Topeka district, was issued a summons in the civil action on Nov. 24.

In objecting to suspending Schumm, Lemon said his client is “merely charged with the crime and is innocent until proven guilty.” Schumm hasn’t been tried nor has he appeared at a preliminary hearing, Lemon said, and Schumm has received “very little” information about what he is accused of.

“There is no evidence, because none exists, that the defendant is incapable of fulfilling duties for which he was elected,” Schumm’s objection to the suspension said.

A hearing in the civil action tied to suspending and ousting Schumm was to have been Friday, but it was postponed. A new date for the hearing will be scheduled on Friday.

Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis is handling the civil actions.

On Nov. 19, Jonathan Schumm, 34, and his wife, Allison Nicole Schumm, 32, were charged with one criminal 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 Schumms were booked into the Shawnee County Jail and posted bond Nov. 20.

In the criminal case, aggravated battery is defined as knowingly using a weapon to cause great bodily harm, disfigurement or death. The Kansas criminal code has several versions of aggravated battery.

Allison Schumm is charged in the criminal case with aiding Jonathan Schumm.

On Nov. 4, the Kansas Department for Children and Families requested help from Topeka police with an investigation of alleged physical abuse involving children, an earlier statement issued by the city of Topeka said.

The district attorney’s office was then 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 Dec 9