Recognizing signs of physical child abuse
A Raytown man who admitted to dozens of acts of sexual abuse against an Independence girl, from when she was ages 7 to 9, was sentenced Friday to 40 years in prison.
Zachary R. Sprowls, 28, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree statutory rape. He was sentenced to 20 years for each crime, according to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Sprowls admitted to about 50 sexual encounters with the child, prosecutors said. The girl, who detailed the rapes to Independence detectives, said Sprowls threatened her so she would not tell on him.
He also kept photographs of the child on his phone, authorities said.
During one assault, Sprowls heard the girl’s mother arrive home, police said. Sprowls stopped the abuse and told the girl’s mother he was helping the girl get a drink, according to court documents.
But when the mother left the kitchen, Sprowls took the child’s pants off and tried to penetrate her, the girl later told police. She told investigators it “hurt really, really bad.” The girl said she hit and scratched Sprowls until he stopped. Then she ran away from him.
The child’s mother noticed her daughter was scratching her vaginal area. Police were called in July 2018 when the child told her mother about the abuse, according to court documents.
Sprowls told police he knew his actions were wrong and against the law, police said.
Sprowls was initially charged with five counts of first-degree statutory sodomy for deviate sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 14, two counts of statutory sodomy or attempted statutory sodomy, statutory rape and child molestation.