Shawn L. Barton

An Alton resident is held without bail, facing charges of first-degree sodomy with a victim younger than 12, second-degree child molestation with a victim younger than 12 and possession of drug paraphernalia with a prior drug offense.

Shawn L. Barton, 49, was charged following an alleged incident early Saturday morning at a home in rural Alton, reported by the father of an 11-year-old child who disclosed to him that Barton had come into the child’s room the night before and initiated contact that escalated to forced sodomy.

When the father confronted Barton about the allegations, Barton allegedly replied that the child is “old enough,” the father told law enforcement. He then reportedly threatened Barton, who left the home on foot.

Oregon County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Sgt. Jordan Reed, who investigated the incident, said the father told him Barton had been allowed to stay one night at the home and had “basically moved himself in.”

The girlfriend of the child’s father told Reed the night of the alleged incident, Barton and the child were in the child’s bedroom having a pillow fight and she and the father of the child were in a different part of the house.

At about 2 a.m., the woman said she woke up and heard Barton saying, “If I can’t have her no one can,” but didn’t get up to see what was going on or wake the father.

The woman said she was made aware of the allegations by the child’s father. Reed spoke with the child, who described the alleged assault, and how the child told Barton to stop, but he didn’t.

The child also agreed to speak with Child Advocacy Center interviewers before being transported by ambulance to Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains, where an exam for sexual assault was conducted. After the exam, the child was taken to the Child Advocacy Center for an emergency interview.

The child reportedly told their father about it out of fear it would happen again.

At the scene, Reed collected evidence including articles of clothing and immediately secured the bedroom Barton used. He later returned with a search warrant to collect evidence, which included a syringe and bent spoon, typically items used for injecting methamphetamine.

Barton had been arrested by the Thayer Police Department that day on an outstanding warrant; he is still in custody at the Thayer jail and was interviewed there by Reed and Chief Deputy Rich Matteson.

After being read his rights, Barton reportedly refused to speak with investigators.

The deputy added that, during the course of the investigation, he learned that, about three days before the alleged assault, the child reported feeling unsafe at home to a school official, saying the way Barton looked at the child was uncomfortable and he stared.

Reed said Barton’s criminal history includes a 1997 misdemeanor conviction of criminal use of a weapon out of Nemaha County, Kan., plus charges of misdemeanor drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, violation of an order of protection and shoplifting out of Oregon County.

Court records show Barton was convicted of felony possession of a controlled substance in Oregon County on a 2016 charge and was on probation with a seven year suspended execution of sentence. He now faces a charge of probation violation on that conviction.  

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