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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Trial date set in rape case

  • A trial date has been set for a Seneca man accused of drugging and raping a woman at his home last November.
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  • A trial date has been set for a Seneca man accused of drugging and raping a woman at his home last November.
    Ronald G. Seward, 48, is to go to trial May 13 and 14 on felony charges of forcible rape — sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion — and second-degree assault. Newton County Division III Associate Circuit Court Judge Kevin Selby will preside.
    A preliminary hearing was held in January, in which Associate Circuit Judge Gregory Stremel ordered the case go to trial in Newton County Circuit Court.
    Arraignment was held Feb. 1, the same day William J. Fleischaker, representing Seward, filed a motion for bond reduction or for an order releasing Seward on his own recognizance. A surety bond of $100,000 has been set.
    Charges were filed against Seward in mid-November, stemming from an incident when he allegedly drugged and raped a woman at his residence in the 4000 block of Redbud Road, in Seneca.
    The woman reported taking a pill Seward said was Xanax, which caused her to lose consciousness, at which time she believes she was raped.
    When she came to, the woman reportedly escaped from Seward's residence to the nearby Swars Prairie Church of Christ, where she received a ride from a mother and son who drove her to get help.
    • • •
    A pretrial conference has been set for a Seneca woman accused of stealing funds from the city fire department.
    Crystal R. Chew, 34, will be back in court on April 9 for the proceeding, to be held in Judge Greg Stremel's Division II Associate Circuit Courtroom, it was determined in a preliminary hearing Tuesday.
    Chew is accused of stealing $2,658.76 from the City of Seneca by using fire department gas cards to buy fuel for her personal vehicles, according to a probable cause affidavit written by Seneca Police Chief James Altic.
    "A query was conducted on the gas cards that belonged to the Fire Department," Altic wrote. "It was apparent that someone was making unauthorized purchases of fuel on two of the cards."
    Altic said Chew's husband, Kevin, had been a volunteer fireman at the time, though he is no longer with the department.
    According to the affidavit, Seneca police obtained a surveillance photograph of Chews' vehicle at the gas pump at Gas-n-Snack convenience store in Seneca.
    Altic then called Chew in to be interviewed, at which time she allegedly confessed to the stealing.
    "Crystal Chew stated that she had been using two different City of Seneca Fire Department gas cards to purchase fuel for her personal vehicle for at least the past 8 months," Altic wrote.
    This is not Chew's first stealing offense.
    In 2008, Chew was accused of stealing more than $12,000 from her former employer, the Seneca Special Road District, including more than $8,000 worth of personal purchases made with the district's credit card, according to the probable cause affidavit from that case.
    Page 2 of 2 - In August 2009, she was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay back $6,500.
    Chew is still on probation from the 2009 offense, and noted that in her interview with Altic.
    "Crystal Chew, after Miranda, took total responsibility for her actions and explained that she had a problem with stealing and that she 'needed help,'" Altic wrote. "Chew stated that she would get gas cards from the fire trucks and use them and then return them at a later time."
    According to Altic's report, Chew allegedly said that she used the fire department gas cards to offset the expense of driving to and from Joplin for work.

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