A 22-year-old Kansas City man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for sodomizing a girl under the age of 14 — a crime that was reported to police in 2012 but didn’t lead to an arrest or charges for nearly three years.
Tyrell L. Staten pleaded guilty Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court to one count of statutory sodomy and was sentenced the same day. He still faces charges in a separate case in which he is accused of shooting his fiancee on Valentine’s Day.
According to court records, the sodomy case began when a girl and her family told police on Nov. 25, 2012, that Staten had anal sex with the girl while visiting her home two days earlier. The girl’s exact age is redacted in court records, but documents specify she was younger than 14 at the time of the alleged abuse.
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The girl gave a video statement describing the abuse, and police took evidence for DNA testing.
But according to court records, it was not until nearly three years later, in November 2015, that police interviewed Staten and arrested him.
The three-year wait occurred while the Police Department’s Crimes Against Children unit experienced what one commander called a “systemic failure,” with at least 148 cases mishandled or simply not investigated for periods of more than a year.
In September 2015, new police investigators entered the unit on a special assignment to look into a backlog of cases. Two months later, police interviewed Staten and arrested him. Two months after that, the department suspended from the unit two sergeants and seven detectives, including Detective Travis Menuey, who originally investigated the Staten case.
A Police Department internal affairs investigation continues into the failures of the unit, while the detectives have been reassigned to other work. Department officials have said they don’t know when that investigation will be complete.
In 2012, the girl’s family told police that the girl had been asleep in her bedroom about 10 p.m. when family members let Staten, whom they knew, into the house. The next day, the girl told family members that Staten had sodomized her even though she told him “no” and tried to push him away. The girl gave a video statement about the incident 10 days later.
A probable cause statement prepared by police does not record any further investigation until Nov. 10, 2015, when police interviewed Staten. According to court records, Staten admitted he had sex with the girl in November 2012.
In court filings last year, prosecutors sought DNA samples from Staten to match with evidence at the crime scene.
After pleading guilty Monday, Staten still faces charges in a separate case.
Earlier this year, while out on bond, Staten was arrested and charged in a Valentine’s Day incident in which he allegedly fired several gunshots into his parked SUV and accidentally shot his fiancee who was inside the vehicle.
The fiancee told police Staten got upset when the vehicle broke down on Wilson Avenue, and that he got out and started firing at the front of the car. But as each round fired, the shots fell closer to the victim in the car, eventually hitting her.
Staten is charged with unlawful use of a weapon, domestic assault and two counts of armed criminal action. A judge revoked Staten’s bond in the sodomy case after the shooting. He remains in custody in the Jackson County Jail.
Staten is scheduled to face trial on the shooting charges Oct. 10.