The appointment of a registered sex offender to the Levasy Board of Alderman is raising eyebrows in the small community.
When Michael Cole, 60, ran for mayor in 2010 and lost, Levasy residents thought they avoided having a registered sex offender hold public office. However, current Mayor Phyllis Dieckmann recently appointed Cole to serve on the board.
Dieckmann’s decision isn’t sitting well with resident Weldon Woodward. “I’m not talking to those people in city hall anymore. I’m not talking to them as long as they’re in office. We’ve got about 110 people that live in the town. Surely they could find four people that have paid their taxes, that are not on a sexual list, and that can work with the entire town,” Woodward said.
Click to hear KMZU’s Chelsea Wade talk with Woodward:
Cole entered an Alford guilty plea on the charges of child molestation and first-degree statutory sodomy in 2004. But, Woodward said he’s not buying Cole’s excuses.
“No one makes you plead guilty for nothing. If Weldon was to waltz into a courthouse and the judge said to Weldon, ‘Are you guilty, or are you innocent?’ I would say whichever was the truth. In other words, if I’m not guilty, you’re not going to get me to lie on myself. In this case, I’m not going to belly-up to sexual predators,” Woodward said.
Cole’s appointment is one of many issues troubling Levasy, according to Woodward. He claims several railroad intersections were blocked off in October 2010, despite a protest from some residents. Mayor Dieckmann responded in February, saying that the board had made every effort to work with the residents of Levasy. No information could be found on Woodward’s claim that some Alderman have not paid their taxes.
Woodward has taken a number of the city’s rulings to court. This time, he’s sitting back and letting the legal process run it’s course.
“I mind my own business, unless I get slapped in the face,” Woodward added. “This idea of appointing a felon that pleaded guilty and has his face plastered all over the state of Missouri is not legal.”
Under Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 561, a person who pleads guilty, nolo contendere, or is convicted of a felony should be ineligible to hold any public office, elective or appointive.
Cole could not be reached for comment.