WEBSTER COUNTY, Mo. (KOLR) -- Dozens of people in Webster County have taken to social media to share outrage over the sentencing of Aaron and Petie Schwartz after the two were convicted of child molestation. The brothers received five years of probation.
The brothers, who admitted to raping their 12-year-old relative, could still end up behind bars.
The two men accepted a plea agreement to avoid prison time, the Springfield News-Leader reports. Under the agreement, their 15-year prison sentences were suspended, provided they followed all probation conditions imposed by a judge. Initial charges filed in June accused each man of six counts of statutory rape and one count of incest.
According to investigative reports from the Webster County Sheriff's Office obtained by the News-Leader under the Missouri Sunshine Law, a doctor's state hotline call reported on June 6 prompted the investigation. The victim had a baby in recent weeks.
Probable cause statements from each case show that the girl was found to be pregnant and disclosed to a doctor that she had been having sex with the two men. Investigators said the pair each admitted to having intercourse with the child about six times over the previous year. Both acknowledged to investigators that they were aware of her age, KOLR reports.
“It needs to be noted that in this case, there were four brothers, two of them minors, while the other two legally are adults,” Berkstresser said. “All of them had sexual relations with their sister. There is no question this occurred.
“In the end, this wasn't a case of a parent and child, where a parent in a position of authority sexually abused or exploited their child,” Berkstresser said. “This was a situation where four siblings engaged in acts with their sister. I offered a 15-year prison sentence based on this ... it was a different relationship.
"And I made the decision not to send them to the DOC, to suspend the sentences," said Berkstresser. "These two young men would've been eaten alive in the state prison system.”