Leon Reporter, Leon, Iowa
Thursday, January 22, l903
'Windsor Richards, a Former Resident of Decatur County Charged with the Crime.' - Seven Year Old Girl May Die.
A perculiarly revolting rape case came to light yesterday, and has roused great public interest. The complainant is BESSIE, the seven-year-old daughter of JOHN MCKEE, who lives two miles east of Caledonia. The accused man, who is now in jail, is a married man aged 25 years, who has been working for MR. MCKEE since corn gathering time began.
The little girl is in a very precarious condition, suffering from the effects of the assault, and also from a severe attack of broncho-pneumonia. It is feared that she will not live, so her statement was taken yesterday. She names RICHARDS as her assailant, and personally identified him when brought before her. RICHARDS was brought to Mt. Ayr yesterday afternoon, appeared before Justice Lineburg without a lawyer, waived examination, and was bound over to the February Grand Jury under $l500 bonds.
The assault took place a week or more ago. RICHARDS and his wife have been living in the MCKEE home. Several of MR. MCKEE's children are living with other people, as MRS. MCKEE is now for the second time in the insane hospital at Clarinda. It was while MR. MCKEE was away visiting a little son, who was ill, that the assault is alleged to have taken place. Little BESSIE kept still about the matter (by reason of threats, it is said), until Sunday evening. By that time she had begun to suffer greatly from her injuries and also from pneumonia, and told her troubles to her father. He summoned Dr. Matt Camp of Kellerton and DR. J.W. CROFFORD of Lamoni, who diagnosed the case as kidney complaint. By Wednesday evening Mrs. L. Foster, who had been called to nurse the little girl, became so sure that something was wrong that she insisted upon Doctors D.R. Bement and C.T. Lesan of Mt. Ayr being called. These physicians reached the MCKEE home about midnight, and were told by MR. MCKEE and the little girl the story of the latter's wrongs. The examination of the girl confirmed her statements. After warning Lemul German, who was staying at MCKEE's to keep track of RICHARDS' movements, the physicians returned to Mt. Ayr and notified Deputy County Attorney Fuller. Mr. Fuller and Sheriff Miller went yesterday forenoon to MCKEE's, where they learned that RICHARDS had gone to William Allen's sale in Riley Township. There they took him in charge, he making no resistance, and brought him to town.
RICHARDS lived for many years with his parents on a farm two miles west of Davis City. Later he moved to Lamoni and worked in a harness shop. Last fall he came to MCKEE's home and has been employed there since. He does not appear to have more than average intelligence. Both he and his wife knew Monday morning of the fact that the little girl accused him, yet it made little if any difference in their actions.
MR. MCKEE is shattered, mentally and physically, by the afflictions that have come upon him. He has hardly known which way to turn in attempting to serve his little daughter's interests.
The part DR. CROFFORD has played in the case is exciting some comment. CROFFORD, it will be remembered, was convicted of murder in the second degree for having caused an abortion which resulted in the death of MAUDE STONE of Decatur City. He is now out of the penitentiary on bail, pending an appeal to the Supreme Court. His physician's certificate has been revoked, so that he has no right to practice medicine. MR. MCKEE says that CROFFORD advised him to take the girl to the CROFFORD Sanitarium in Lamoni, and said that her story of being outraged was merely an hallucination on her part. MR. MCKEE was induced to accept this theory in view of insanity of the girl's mother.
--MT. AYR NEWS.
Leon Reporter, Leon, Iowa
Thursday, February 26, l903
'MAY INDICT CROFFORD.'
Ringgold County Grand Jury Will Investigate Dr. Crofford's
DR. J.W. CROFFORD, of Lamoni, has become noted. He had some slight reputation as a physician, but since he has figured so conspicuously in the Courts of Decatur County, he has become known all over the State. When County Attorney Fuller was called down to Riley Township to take the deposition of BESSIE MCKEE, who is the prosecuting witness against WINDSOR RICHARDS, indicted by the Grand Jury last week for rape, it was learned that DR. CROFFORD had been called to make an examination of the child. He heard the child's story to the effect that RICHARDS had attempted to commit rape on her, but he said there could be no truth in her statement and passed it off as having only existed in her childish imagination.
It will be recalled that a neighbor woman called on BESSIE MCKEE a few days after DR. CROFFORD had prescribed some medicine for stomach trouble, for that was what he considered was the matter with the little girl. After the neighbor lady heard BESSIE's pitiful story she became convinced of the truth of her statement, and then it was that Dr. C.T. Lesan and Dr. D.R. Bement were called to examine into her condition. They believed her story and after an examination became convinced that all she had said was true. RICHARDS' arrest and subsequent indictment followed.
It now appears that DR. CROFFORD has no right to practice medicine in Ringgold County or any other county. It was hinted about the Court House Monday that the Grand Jury was going to investigate CROFFORD's case, and if sufficient evidence could be secured would return an indictment against him for practicing medicine in this county without a certificate from the State Medical Board. It will also be recalled that DR. CROFFORD was sentenced to thirteen years in the penitentiary for causing the death of MAUDE STONE through a criminal operation performed in his sanitarium at Lamoni. The trial lasted for over a week at Leon, and the ablest attorneys were retained on both sides of the case. After CROFFORD was convicted and sentenced to the penitentiary, the State Medical Board, upon receiving a transcript of the evidence of the case, revoked his certificate to practice medicine. Several months ago DR. CROFFORD was granted a new trial by the Supreme Court and pending his new trial he was released from the penitentiary at Ft. Madison on furnishing a bail bond of thirteen thousand dollars. After he was given his liberty he at once returned to Lamoni, where he has been quietly practicing medicine.
'Must Have A State Certificate'
Probably one reason that the Grand Jury will not take action in the case at this time is the fact that Dr. J.F. Kennedy, Secretary of the State Board of Medical Exainers, was unable to be present to give his testimony before the Grand Jury. Every physician practicing in Iowa is required by law to procure a certificate from the State Board. It is also within the power of the Board to revoke the certificate of any physician of the State if good and sufficient reasons are presented why the certificate should be revoked. C.W. Hoffman, attorney for DR. CROFFORD in his former trial, has made the statement that the State Medical Board had no right to revoke the certificate of the Lamoni doctor, and he states that Attorney General Mullan has advised the Board to this effect. The State Board made no examination of DR. CROFFORD's case and revoked his certificate on the evidence introduced in the trial at Leon. Mr. Hoffman contends that it is yet to be shown that DR. CROFFORD was guilty of malpractice and until this fact is established, the doctor has a right to practice medicine if he chooses.
The fact that DR. CROFFORD came over into Ringgold County, and as it now seems made an incorrect examination
as to the condition of BESSIE MCKEE, is not going to help his own case when it comes on for trial again in Leon.
--MT. AYR RECORD
Copied by Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert
"With permission from the Leon Journal Reporter"
February 24, 2003