A Wyandotte County sheriff’s deputy has been arrested and charged with several sex crimes against a child.
The charges were announced Tuesday afternoon by Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark A. Dupree Sr.
The deputy, Michael Edward Mastel, has been employed by the sheriff’s office since 2010. He faces charges of rape, aggravated criminal sodomy and three counts of sexual exploitation of a child.
The sodomy is alleged to have ocurred in 2011 or 2012. The rape and the sexual exploitation is alleged to have occurred between March and June of 2018.
The child was known to Mastel through his personal life and not through his work as a deputy, Dupree said. All the charges concern the same child, who was 14 or younger when the alleged crimes began.
On Tuesday, Dupree noted that the announcement came during Child Abuse Prevention Month. He urged the community to watch out for children who may be abused.
“We know that folks who harm our children tend to try to scare them into keeping secrets, or they use the threat that nobody will believe you,” Dupree said.
“The message today is … when a child makes the statement, when a child finds enough gall to stand up to their abuser, or to tell, let them tell. Don’t call them a liar. Don’t say ‘I don’t believe you.’
“I hope the community takes away, that if you hear something, if you see something … One: believe the child. Then two: say something about it.”
The allegations were first reported to the sheriff’s office in October 2018, Dupree said. He said the sheriff’s office was right to hand the investigation over to the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department so that it could be conducted with transparency.
Sheriff Don Ash was present at the news conference Tuesday and spoke about his reaction to the deputy’s alleged crimes.
“I’m disappointed. I’m angry,” Ash said. “We certainly don’t tolerate this alleged behavior. We will react to it promptly and swiftly and begin whatever investigations are necessary.
“If it’s one of our employees or if its somebody else, it doesn’t really matter, that’s all what we do.”