Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced that a Buchanan County jury took less than one hour to find Franklin J. Stitt, Jr., 82, to be a sexually violent predator.
According to a news release from Hawley’s office, Stitt, a former resident of Amazonia, Missouri, and diagnosed pedophile, has a decades long history of sexually abusing boys and girls as young as four years old.
His behavior began over 40 years ago, when he was repeatedly detected exposing himself to children while working as a computer repairman in the military. In 1983, he was convicted in New Jersey for sexually abusing a young girl over several years, beginning when she was eight. In 1997, at the age of 62, he relocated to a home across the street from an elementary school in Amazonia and began molesting and raping multiple young children, aged four to ten years old.
When he was caught, additional victims came forward, including his own children who reported incest during the 1970s and 1980s and turned over letters in which Stitt justified incest as bringing his victims closer to God. Stitt voiced opinions that he was divinely commanded by God to seek out sex with children and was justified by the Bible to commit incest. Stitt refused sex offender treatment in Missouri’s Department of Corrections, showing no remorse and claiming it would be a sin.
Before Stitt’s possible release to the community in 2017, the Missouri Attorney General filed a petition to instead commit him to a secure mental health facility as a sexually violent predator. Stitt will remain in the facility and away from children until he is safe to be at large.
“There is no place for those who abuse Missouri’s children,” Hawley said. “Those who do so will be removed from society until they are fit to return.”
The case was tried by Assistant Attorney General Monty Platz and investigated by Missouri’s Sexually Violent Predator Unit.