80-year-old Missouri man convicted of child sex abuse could get life in prison

Arthur W. Sanders, 80, of Odessa, Mo.
Arthur W. Sanders, 80, of Odessa, Mo. Lafayette County Jail

An 80-year-old man in Odessa, Mo., was found guilty of sexually abusing two 12-year-old female relatives he was caring for after school, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office announced this week.

Arthur W. Sanders was charged with 11 counts of child molestation and sodomy last March. A jury in Lafayette County, just east of Kansas City, deliberated for more than an hour before returning a verdict Feb. 8.

In one instance, Sanders put money into a child’s underwear and bra and had the children touch him, the attorney general’s office said. The abuse went back 30-plus years.

During the two-day trial, the attorney general’s office said a victim from the early 1980s testified she was abused at around the same age but was encouraged by family to stay quiet.

After five years of abuse, one of the victims told a school counselor.

​“Abuse of this nature has no place in Missouri,” Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said in the statement. “My office will continue to protect these vulnerable citizens — and fight to put perpetrators behind bars.”

Sanders is scheduled to be sentenced on April 2. He faces a possible life sentence in prison and is not eligible for bail or bond.

The case was tried by Special Prosecutor Monty Platz of the attorney general’s office at the request of the Lafayette County prosecuting attorney’s office, which originally filed the charges.

Kaitlyn Schwers: 816-234-7909, @kaitlynschwers