Grain Valley officer faces multiple felony charges following child sexual abuse investigation

Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 7:42 PM CDT
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GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. (KCTV) - Jackson County prosecutors have charged a Grain Valley police officer with multiple felony counts following a Missouri State Highway Patrol investigation into sexual abuse of a child.

August Gildehaus is facing nine counts, including charges of sodomy, rape and sexual exploitation of a minor. As of Wednesday, Gildehaus is no longer an employee with the city of Grain Valley.

Relatives initially reported the child missing on March 5 around 1:37 a.m., when the child was not found inside of their home. A missing person report was filed. When the child returned home around 6:45 a.m., they disclosed they had been meeting with a Grain Valley police officer they met online.

On March 6, the Grain Valley police chief requested that Missouri State Highway Patrol investigate allegations of sexual contact with a juvenile.

“For a child to come forward and disclose sexual abuse, it is very traumatic,” Julie Donelon, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA). “It takes a lot of bravery.”

Investigators said the child knew the officer by an alias. The child’s relatives found a photo on the Grain Valley Police Department’s Facebook page that the child identified as the officer they were meeting with. Missouri State Highway Patrol investigators identified Grain Valley Police Officer August Gildehaus as the suspect.

Investigators said the child reported that the officer knew they were under the age of 17. They met using online chat platforms Omegle and Discord.

“It is really important for parents to be monitoring what their children are doing online,” Donelon said. “We know that one in seven children will be solicited sexually online. We hear a lot from parents that they are uncomfortable at times having these conversations, but they are really critical.”

The child reported that the sexual contact happened at the suspect’s home and inside his truck, including an encounter inside his vehicle at Grain Valley South Middle School.

During a forensic interview, the child described information about the officer’s home and identifying tattoos. Court documents state that investigators searched online chats, which showed communication began on Aug. 15, 2022. The conversations continued through March 2, 2023. According to investigators, Gildehaus’ Discord account had been deleted.

“Children are not able to give consent, but also there is no consent when there is power and control and imbalances in that,” Donelon said. “Especially if there could be consequences for them for not complying.”

During an interview with Gildehaus, investigators said he admitted to meeting the juvenile online, getting a cover-up tattoo and having sexual intercourse with the juvenile. Online court records show that Gildehaus posted bond on Wednesday and will be monitored by GPS.

MOCSA will be offering a free Stewards of Children Training on April 29, which is for parents and caregivers to learn ways to protect children from sexual abuse. Parents and guardians can attend virtually via Zoom.

Anyone who has experienced sexual violence can anonymously call MOCSA’s free crisis hotline at 816-531-0233 or 913-642-0233. Trained staff are available 24/7.

The Grain Valley Police Department released the following statement: