Two former city council members from two different cities were in Potawatomie County court Thursday, accused of similar crimes -- sexually abusing children.
Former Asher City Councilman Jeffery Short is accused of inappropriately touching two different girls on several occasions while they spent the night at his home visiting his daughter.
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“No, they were very credible they were lying,” said Defense attorney Ronald Kaufman. “My client is absolutely innocent. And I’m confident that a jury of his peers will see that. And he walks out of the courtroom.”
Pottawatomie County Assistant DA David Slane replied, “I don’t buy that. I believe the girls were telling the truth. Obviously, people remember things differently that happened months ago. That’s an argument he can make to the jury.”
Short faces five felony counts, including rape by instrumentation.
Also, in court, former Holdenville City Councilman Richard West. West was a member of the group Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) and, according to court records. He is accused of receiving obscene videos of one of the children he volunteered to protect from sexual predators.
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“He used his position of authority and compassion to get video of this little child doing sexual acts,” said Potawatomie County District Attorney Allan Grubb.
West isn’t accused of inappropriately touching the child, although prosecutors say they exchanged sexually charged texts. West wouldn’t answer our questions as he left the courthouse.
“It’s a sad state of affairs when it seems like all I’m doing is holding public officials feet to the fire for abusing children,” said DA Grubb.
West is being offered a plea deal that includes six months in jail, 10 years probation, and he will be on the sex offender registry. Prosecutors offered the deal, they said, to spare the child the trauma of testifying in court.