TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A member of the Topeka City Council and his wife are accused of abusing and endangering some of the 16 children in their care and remained behind bars Friday afternoon.
Jonathan Robert Schumm, 34, and Allison Nicole Schumm, 32, made their first appearances Friday in Shawnee County District Court on charges of aggravated battery or, in the alternative, abuse of a child. The aggravated battery is a lower-level felony than the abuse charge, said Lee McGowan, spokesman for the Shawnee County prosecutor’s office. At trial, a judge or jury can decide which, if any, charge the evidence warrants, he said.
The two also are charged with four misdemeanor child endangerment counts. They were arrested Thursday in their home, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
The Schumms have 16 children, including four who are their biological children, two who are in foster care and 10 who are adopted, the newspaper said. As of January 2015, the children ranged in age from 3 weeks to 19 years old.
The aggravated battery or alternative abuse count stemmed from incidents between Oct. 7 and Oct. 11, a jail official said, while the four child endangerment incidents happened Oct. 31.
Schumm, who was elected to the City Council in April, was being held on $35,000 bond.
At his hearing Friday, he said he couldn’t afford to hire an attorney because the family already had hired counsel to handle the children’s removal from the home. The judge appointed a public defender to represent him.
His wife, who was being held on $20,000 bond, told the judge she already had an attorney, who said outside of court that he wasn’t at liberty to discuss anything related to the children.
Topeka city spokeswoman Aly Van Dyke said city officials were researching the law regarding conduct of a city council member who has been arrested.
“At this time, he’s still a council member,” Van Dyke said.
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