A Monroe County father and mother were charged late Friday afternoon for child abuse in connection with a sex crime.
Law enforcement reports allege that the parents, allowed their underage son to have a sexual relationship with Larry D. Isgrig, who on Aug. 13 was sentenced to 16 years for three felonies related to the abuse.
The Salt River Journal is not identifying the parents in order to protect the identity of the victim.
A case filed by Prosecuting Attorney Talley Kendrick alleges that text messages and other evidence showed that the parents did nothing to stop the relationship.
During his sentencing hearing, Isgrig told Judge David Mobley the parents were aware of the relationship.
In fact, Monroe County investigators said that the parents were contacted by the Missouri Division of Family Services, and that the department provided them evidence their son and Isgrig were involved in a sexual relationship.
“Parents … were aware that a romantic and illegal sexual relationship was occurring between their…son and a 51-year-old man (Isgrig),” said investigators for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department in a report to the prosecutor.
Moreover, investigators allege that the parents ignored “instructions” from the Children’s Division of Family in November 2016 to not allow the child to be around Isgrig without adult supervision, as part of what was called a safety plan to protect the victim.
Investigators allege that not only did the parents fail to follow mandates from the Children’s Division, but the relationship went on with the approval of the parents.
“At this time, they were also made aware of text message exchanges that had been taking place between Isgrig and (the victim) and the concern of a romantic and illegal relationship between the two,” investigators allege. “Later, evidence would be located that indicate (the parents) were aware even before this November date of the romantic relationship between them. A photograph was located on (the mother’s) Facebook page that shows Isgrig and (the victim) seated on a coach, holding hands.”
In his sentencing hearing, Isgrig said that he fell “compassionately in love” with the victim, saying that he did not mean to “cause any harm.”
“I am remorseful for the intimate relationship before you were 17 years old,” he wrote in the letter intended for the victim, saying he hoped to one day reunite.
As what they call evidence of the complicity of the parents’ in the relationship, investigators cite lurid text message exchanges between Isgrig and the mother on April 8, 2017, some five months after Children’s Services made the parents aware of its concerns.
Investigators said that after a particularly lurid message from Isgrig’s phone to mother’s phone, less than a hour later, Isgrig sent a text saying, “I’m sorry for the words that went through on the text messages we were playing in the car and the message went through by accident.” Investigators say that five minutes later, a text message from the mother’s phone read, “It is OK. I promise.”
The parents have been released from the Monroe County Jail on $20,000 bond. As of Monday, no hearing had been set in the cases against the couple.