A Sedalia man accused of statutory rape was sentenced this week after he entered a guilty plea.
Travis Clunie, 26, was sentenced to seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for second degree statutory rape, to run concurrent with any other sentence.
Once the case was scheduled for trial, Pettis County Prosecuting Attorney Phillip Sawyer said he talked to the victim’s family after Clunie was sentenced in February for a separate sex crime.
“I met with (the family) and they agreed to make an offer to resolve the matter without going to trial,” Sawyer told the Democrat on Wednesday. “That meant Mr. Clunie would plead guilty to count two, statutory rape, and get sentenced to seven years, the maximum penalty for that offense. When a trial involves a child’s testimony and is emotional, the family agreed and desired to avoid a trial if they could. That’s how we reached the resolution.”
Clunie’s plea was only for second degree statutory rape; his other charge of second degree rape was dismissed.
According to court documents, a 15-year-old female reported she had been raped by Clunie on two occasions sometime after Jan. 1, 2016, after a youth group meeting at New Hope Baptist Church, 664 E. 16th St. The victim was interviewed at Child Safe of West Central Missouri Inc. April 29, 2016.
The church’s pastor spoke with detectives and told them Clunie had been coming to the church for a few months but was not a member and had asked to attend the youth group, but was told he was too old. When Clunie asked to help with the youth group, the pastor said he could not because the church did not know him and he needed to pass a background check.
Clunie was arrested April 29, 2016, and interviewed by the Sedalia Police Department. He at first denied the accusations, but then admitted to having sex with the victim, stating he knew she was 15 but that it was consensual.
Clunie was sentenced in February to 30 years in the Department of Corrections for first degree sodomy in a separate case. He was convicted of the crime at the conclusion of a jury trial Dec. 15-16, 2016, at the Pettis County Courthouse.
According to court documents, a woman reported April 27, 2016, to the Sedalia Police Department that she had been sodomized by Clunie in January 2016 while they were at Katy Park, located at 24th Street and South Grand Avenue.
According to court documents, the victim told detectives she decided to come forward when she found out Clunie was being investigated for another sex crime, the rape case mentioned above.
Sawyer said the jury was presented evidence from the statutory rape case during the sentencing hearing for the sodomy case.
“So when the jury deliberated punishment for the first case, they were able to hear evidence for the crime that happened at the church,” Sawyer continued. “I’m sure that played a role in sentencing Clunie, and I told the (second victim’s) family that. They understand the jury heard and considered the evidence and that played a definite role in deciding to resolve the second case without a trial.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.