Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Despite Criminal Charges, Jonathan Schumm Retains Topeka Council Seat

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Despite Criminal Charges, Jonathan Schumm Retains Topeka Council Seat

Article excerpt

Jonathan Schumm, embattled city councilman, will remain on Topeka's governing body during an investigation into charges of aggravated battery and other offenses in which the victims were children.

Barring a resignation, Schumm holds his seat, said city spokeswoman Aly Van Dyke. Through a jail official, Schumm declined an interview Friday with The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Generally, there are two options for removing an elected official from office, both requiring substantial proof of wrongdoing, said Eric Smith, legal counsel at the Kansas League of Municipalities.

The public could call for a recall election by petition. In that case, the person suspected of wrongdoing must be convicted of a felony, have willfully engaged in misconduct while in office or have failed to perform duties.

"Allegations are not going to be enough," Smith said.

Schumm and his wife, Allison Nicole Schumm, were booked into the Shawnee County Jail on Thursday evening. They posted bond Friday. The councilman was arrested in connection with one count each of aggravated battery and, as an alternative, abuse of a child (torture or cruelly beating a child younger than 18), which occurred between Oct. 7 and Oct. 11, and four counts of endangering a child, which occurred Oct. 31, a jail official said.

The Shawnee County District Attorney's Office filed the charges Thursday.

If a district attorney conducts an investigation into an elected official and finds proof of wrongdoing, mental impairment or willful neglect of duties, the office can initiate ouster proceedings, Smith said.

Representatives from the Shawnee County District Attorney's office didn't return calls Friday.

Topeka, or any governing body, doesn't have authority to remove someone from office, Smith said. …

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