A convicted rapist will not have the Supreme Court review his case. KMZU’s Chelsea Wade reports:
Press Release from Lafayette County Prosecutor Kellie Campbell
Joseph Sprofera, former Odessa resident and foster parent, was convicted on September 1, 2010, of statutory rape of a 14-year old child after a two-day jury trial in Clay County. The case was tried in Clay County after the defendant requested a change of venue. Sprofera’s 2010 rape conviction was recently affirmed by the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District. Sprofera sought to have the Supreme Court review the case, but that request was denied on May 29th. The Attorney General’s Office handled the appeal defending the State’s prosecution of the case.
Lafayette County Prosecutor Kellie Campbell presented the evidence to the Clay County jury that found Sprofera guilty and recommended that he be sentenced to the maximum sentence. Campbell is now scheduled to present evidence against him at another jury trial in August on a statutory rape charge involving a second victim and a third trial in September for allegedly sodomizing a third victim. Unlike his first trial where he received the maximum sentence of seven years, Sprofera faces a possible life sentence in both of the remaining cases. All three victims had contact with Sprofera as children while residing in Lafayette County several years ago.
Sprofera was arrested in August 2009 after the first victim disclosed sexual abuse. As other victims came forward, it became apparent that the first victim was unable to proceed to trial. Campbell dismissed that case while the victim sought treatment and proceeded to trial with another victim, resulting in the 2010 conviction. Campbell’s office re-filed charges in the first case when the victim indicated she was ready to testify. After Sprofera’s first conviction and while awaiting the second trial, Sprofera was held in contempt and sentenced to 270 days in jail for repeatedly cursing during a Clay County hearing in open court. With regard to pending cases, all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Campbell was appointed to the position of Lafayette County Prosecutor in February of 2009 and reports that since that time, she has seen an unusually high number of child sexual abuse cases. “I have prosecuted child sexual abuse cases numerous times over the past twenty years throughout the northwest region of Missouri. I do not recall ever seeing such a high number of them in one jurisdiction in a three-year time frame. I’m sure that public awareness accounts for increased reporting as well as improved investigative services for victims that result in better documentation of disclosures. It also requires a prosecution team that is willing to take on these types of difficult cases. I am very proud of our experienced team of attorneys, support staff and victim advocate.”