Osage County Sheriff Michael Dixon has no plans to leave his job, even though he's been charged with a felony and four misdemeanor crimes.
"I intend to keep doing my job," Dixon said Friday afternoon, in a statement released through his attorney, Travis Noble Jr., of St. Louis.
In an interview, Noble told the News Tribune: "Sheriff Dixon is adamant that (the charges) are unfounded (and) not true, and that there may be political undertones to this thing.
"We plan on fighting them and challenging the charges."
Phelps County Prosecutor John Beger, acting as a special prosecutor in the case, on Wednesday charged Dixon, 27, Belle, with tampering with a motor vehicle, a Class C felony that could - if he's convicted - involve a prison sentence of up to seven years, or a year in the county jail, and a fine up to $5,000.
Dixon was charged with taking a four-wheeler all-terrain vehicle on June 26, even though the owner told him not to take it.
Investigators said Dixon later returned it.
Beger also filed four misdemeanor charges: First-degree sexual misconduct, third-degree assault, harassment and stalking.
The sexual misconduct and assault charges both involve allegations that Dixon placed a flashlight between the legs of a woman identified only as C.M., pressed it against her and then pulled it back by running it up her backside.
The stalking and harassment charges accused Dixon of making "numerous and repeated comments of a suggestive or sexual nature and/or numerous and repeated telephone calls unrelated to either (Dixon's) or C.M.'s job or profession."
All four misdemeanor charges carry a possible sentence of up to one year in the county jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
Beger's charging papers included a three-page probable cause statement prepared by a Highway Patrol investigator based in Springfield.
That statement provides details of several incidents that investigators said involved both Dixon and C.M., including allegations that Dixon went to her home about 12:30 a.m. on June 26 - a Wednesday - and demanded that her fiancÃ© tell Dixon where she was.
That incident, the report said, included Dixon's taking the four-wheeler even though the fiancÃ© said it was nearly out of gas and it was illegal to ride the four-wheeler inside the City of Belle after dark.
According to the report, when Dixon couldn't find C.M., he returned to her home and waited another hour for her to return, then left.
Investigators reported C.M. told them when she returned to her residence later in the morning, "she was so concerned about (Dixon) she felt it was necessary to "clear' the residence with her gun drawn, to ensure (Dixon) was not present."
"In a statement issued by his attorney Friday afternoon, Dixon said: "The allegations made against me ... are baseless.""
Dixon also said: "The people of Osage County elected me to make changes. I have done so.
"Adding reliable new deputies and setting professional standards in the department has made Osage County a better and safer place - and left some people used to the old ways pretty disgruntled."
Dixon asked people "who can't keep an open mind on the subject to at least remember the context. I am confident that the truth will prevail."