The Osage County sheriff faces several charges after Phelps County’s prosecuting attorney was asked to investigate complaints made against the sheriff earlier this year.
Sheriff Michael R. Dixon, 27, has been charged with misdemeanors for first-degree sexual misconduct, third-degree assault, harassment and stalking.
He also was charged with a felony for first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle.
Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney John Beger filed the charges Wednesday. Beger was appointed by courts in both Osage and Maries counties to be a special prosecutor in the case.
The charges stem from an incident involving Dixon that occurred in late June of this year. Dixon has served as sheriff since Jan. 1, 2013.
A probable cause statement from a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper states that around June 24, Dixon was holding a social event in Belle when he responded to a tire shop in Belle for a report of a fight in progress.
A woman, who was not named in the statement, rode along with Dixon to the shop. While there, the woman said she felt something hard touch her between her legs, on her buttocks and up her back. She told authorities that the item was a flashlight that Dixon was holding.
According to the trooper’s statement, Dixon said, “My bad, I’m sorry, I suppose that’s inappropriate.”
Court records also state that around June 26, Dixon traveled to the woman’s residence and contacted her fiancé, asking where the woman was. The trooper also stated Dixon made repeated calls to the woman’s cellphone.
The trooper then stated Dixon called the Osage County Emergency Operations Center and asked an on-duty dispatcher to call the woman.
After no success of reaching her, Dixon then took a four-wheel ATV, which belonged to the woman’s fiancé, without his permission.
The woman’s fiancé told Dixon not to take the ATV, that it was nearly out of gas and it was illegal to ride an four-wheeler in the City of Belle after dark, court records state. According to the woman’s fiancé, Dixon said, “It will be okay.”
Court documents state “the events of June 24 through June 26, 2013, follow a period of months of unsolicited comments of a suggestive or sexual nature” directed at the woman by Dixon, which were “unrelated to their respective job performance and duties.”
A press release from Beger states that the repeated comments of a suggestive or sexual nature and phone calls “would have caused a reasonable person under the circumstances to be frightened, intimidated or emotionally distressed.
Tampering with a motor vehicle in the first degree is a Class C felony, which carries a penalty of two to seven years in the Department of Corrections or up to a year in a county jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine. If convicted, Dixon could no longer be sheriff since state law prohibits anyone from being sheriff who has been convicted of a felony.
Page 2 of 2 - The misdemeanor charges are punishable by jail time ranging up to one year and fines of up to $1,000. A court hearing has not been scheduled.