Ex-school employee accused of sex crimes involving 2 teens - KCTV5

Ex-school employee accused of sex crimes involving 2 teens

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A former school janitor is accused of sex crimes involving two teen girls.

He worked at Gladden Elementary as a janitor, but only briefly. The day after the girl's mom contacted police, the district gave him the boot.

Richard Cornwell is now 20 and faces sex-related charges in two counties. He was indicted in Cass County last week for child molestation, a misdemeanor, involving a girl who was 14 when he was 19, a crime from 2012.

This week, the statutory rape charge was a felony, in Jackson County and stemmed from when the girl was 13 and he was 18, in 2011.

The girl told police Cornwell raped her at an abandoned building across from Richards Gebauer Air Force Base in October of 2011. At the time, Cornwell was a substitute janitor at Gladden Elementary. But he didn't last long.

The Belton Schools superintendent said he was hired on October 5, 2011. The girl's mother went to police on Oct. 18 and on Oct. 19, Cornwell was fired.

"Although it may just be an allegation," the superintendent told KCTV5's Betsy Webster by phone, "we are going to play it safe and make sure that person is not allowed on campus."

Based on her age, it's unlikely the 13-year-old met Cornwell at the school, because Gladden goes only to the fourth grade. The girl told police she and Cornwell came to the building, which she called "the haunted silos," after she texted him at 3 a.m.

Police arrested Cornwell on Monday. They said he told them the sex was consensual and he thought the girl was 15.

It's not clear when the Cass County fondling accusation was made, but the indictment alleges the crime occurred in 2012, while the Jackson County investigation was stalled.

KCTV5 did notice that the girl gave official accounts on two different dates and made conflicting statements on some details, which may have made the witnesses especially important.

Police said they hit roadblocks reaching witnesses, which is part of the reason why they didn't wrap up the case until this year.

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