Kansas lawmaker accused of child abuse, tries to clear name

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In July, Republican officials hand-picked Michael Capps of Wichita to fill the vacancy for the Kansas House 85th District. Now those same supporters are asking him to step down. 

According to Capps, his fellow party members are concerned after details surfaced about an investigation into Capps by the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

DCF documents show that he was a court-appointed special advocate volunteer for CASA. CASA partners adult volunteers with foster children to provide emotional support as they go through the court system. 

Those documents show Capps was assigned a 5-year-old boy. Last year DCF removed that child along with other children from their foster home. Shortly after, the foster mother filed a complaint against Capps saying he caused emotional abuse for two boys.

The woman alleges Capps hugged and kissed the boys and allowed them to sit on his lap and rub his chest. He was also accused of babysitting the woman’s children, which CASA said is in violation of his duties. Capps admitted to be affectionate with the boys, but says he did not over step any boundaries.

A DCF investigation affirmed Capps caused emotional abuse. Capps filed and appeal. The state reversed the decision and it was upheld by the Office of Administrative Hearings, which called the allegations unsubstantiated, citing mistakes by DCF in filing the proper paperwork.

"I fought back and cleared my name,” said Capps. “I fought back and showed the system made a mistake."

Now his own party believes the allegations are serious enough to ask Capps to pull out of the race and resign from his seat in the House.

"We want to make sure the folks who represent us in the Kansas House are those of integrity and have the best interest of the people of Kansas including kids,” said Republican Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman.

Ryckman personally asked Capps to step aside, something Capps refuses to do.

He said he feels betrayed by his own party.

"I did nothing wrong and I was cleared,"  said Capps.

CASA said Capps resigned from being a volunteer with the program and then was decertified. No criminal charges were filed in the case, and the DCF case was dismissed.

DCF declined to comment saying it can’t comment on personnel issues.

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