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9-1-10

ALDERMAN
ACCUSED
OF EXPOSING
HIMSELF
Charles Cook of Platte City charged
with misdemeanor

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

A Platte City alderman this week is facing charges of sexual misconduct.

Charles “Cookie” Cook, 58, who has served as an alderman since January, is charged with exposing himself to a 37-year-old woman as he gave her a ride home from work.

Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd, who filed the misdemeanor charge, said Cook faces up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $500.

According to court records. Cook drove the woman home from her work at the Price Chopper in Platte City at about 9:40 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19.

While in his pickup, the woman alleges the conversation took a sexual nature when Cook asked her if she was always satisfied sexually at home. After a brief stop at a friend’s house, the woman returned to Cook’s truck. She told police she didn’t notice anything because it was dark, but then she says Cook asked her “would this satisfy you?”

She told police she asked what he was talking about. The woman says when she looked over at Cook she saw that he “had his pants down and had his hand on his penis.” The victim alleges Cook then answered her question by saying: “Well, this” and shook his penis.

In the probable cause statement, she further alleges that Cook then asked her if she wanted to touch his penis, and also asked if she wanted him to touch her vagina.

The woman says she told Cook no. She told police her words to Cook were: “I would appreciate it if you would pull up your pants. I don’t want to have sex with you. I don’t want to do anything with you. I just want to go home.”

The alleged victim says that Cook then pulled up his pants and took her home. She told police that Cook’s actions “upset and frightened her” and that she wished to prosecute him.

On Monday, Aug. 23, Cook was interviewed by Platte City police. Cook denied exposing himself to the woman. According to court documents, Cook recalled asking the woman how things were going and he told police the woman had indicated that “her husband or boyfriend was not able to perform long enough to get her excited.” According to documents, Cook told police he said to the woman that he was sorry about that, and that he never had that problem. Cook told police he thought the woman was “coming on” to him.

Cook said he did not remember any other conversation before they arrived at her friend’s house. Documents further indicate Cook admitted to police that he had been drinking that night. He told police he had “three or four bourbon and cokes” before going to Price Chopper.

“Cook also admitted he probably should not have been driving,” wrote Platte City Police Det. Al DeValkenaere in his statement of probable cause.

According to the documents, Cook went on to tell police that he and the woman talked about sex the first time he had given her a ride, and when they started talking about sex again he thought she was coming on to him. Cook denied he asked the woman for sex, but said he did suggest “they could help each other out.”

Cook told police he was wearing jean shorts that do not have a button, was not wearing a belt, and that the zipper on those shorts does not stay up. When the woman got back in his vehicle at the friend’s house, Cook said his shorts “may have been partially down.” Cook demonstrated that he grabbed his crotch with his left hand and made a shaking motion.

Det. DeValkenaere wrote in his report that “it should be noted this motion was identical to the motion (the alleged victim) demonstrated when talking about Cook’s actions when he exposed himself to her.”

Cook admitted that he stopped the truck and pulled his shorts up, but continued to deny that he exposed himself.

Officers confronted Cook with the information the woman was alleging. Cook told officers that if the woman “said his penis was out then it was out” but he did not remember it being out.

According to the statement of probable cause, Cook explained by saying that his shorts were partially down and that he was wearing thong underwear. According to the detective’s documents provided to the court, Cook told police that it is possible that when he grabbed himself he may have “accidentally reached into his underwear instead of grabing himself through his underwear, possibly exposing his penis to her.”

A message left for Cook at his home on Tuesday went unreturned. Cook lives on Second Street and serves as a Ward 1 alderman for the northwestern portion of the city.

A court hearing for Cook is scheduled for Sept. 28, 1:30 p.m. in front of Judge Dennis Eckold in Platte County Circuit Court.

Cook, an alderman for Ward One, was first appointed to the board by Mayor Frank Offutt with the approval of other aldermen in January of this year to replace Marsha Clark, who had resigned. In April, Cook was elected to a two-year term without opposition.

Cook’s service on the board had been extremely quiet until recently. At last week’s meeting, Cook initially voted in opposition to a proposed tax levy increase. The vote was 3-3 among the six aldermen on two initial votes. After the mayor called a recess, Cook changed his vote on the third call of the question and voted in favor of the tax increase.

Cook, a gas service company employee, had also appeared recently at a meeting of the city’s economic development subcommittee to seek information from KCP&L representatives about the frequency of power outages in Platte City.