Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced that a Chariton County jury found Kris Eugene Ward, 40, of Columbia, guilty of statutory rape and endangering the welfare of a child. Ward sexually abused an 11-year-old girl over the course of several months.

The jury watched a recorded interview of the victim in which she described, in detail, the acts perpetrated upon her by the defendant who had sex with her multiple times while babysitting. Her account was corroborated by testimony of a nurse practitioner confirming physical injuries to the victim, the testimony of the victim’s mother and step-mother about the defendant’s unusual behavior toward the victim, and a friend of the defendant to whom he confessed his sexual relationship with the victim. The jury took only an hour and a half to find Ward guilty of all three counts.

“My office will not tolerate abuse of any nature,” Hawley said. “I am grateful to law enforcement, prosecutors, and the jury who found this man guilty. Chariton County is safer because of their hard work.”

Chariton County Circuit Judge Terry Tschannen has set Ward’s sentencing for December 7 at 1pm in Chariton County. Ward faces up two life sentences plus 7 years in prison.

Assistant Attorney General Katharine Dolin assisted Chariton County prosecutor Robert Wheeler.