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Missouri 99th General Assembly opens for 2017

Missouri State Rep. Steven Roberts Jr., St. Louis 77th District, sits at his desk in the House as speeches are made during the opening of the 99th General Assembly in Jefferson City on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2016. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS • A Missouri lawmaker who publicly accused a colleague of raping her last year — and was sued for defamation after prosecutors declined criminal charges — is fighting back with a claim that she was drugged and then assaulted.

Both were then candidates for the Missouri House and have since been elected.

Walker filed court documents Thursday denying Roberts’ defamation claim and counter-suing him for battery and infliction of emotional distress.

Her response accuses Roberts specifically of giving her a date-rape drug to set her up for sexual assault at his Central West End apartment last summer. She called his suit “false and malicious” and “an attempt to intimidate and distract” from his conduct toward her “and other women in the past.”

Roberts’ attorney, Jeremy Hollingshead, said Walker’s claims are baseless; he claimed she filed the counter-claim to save her political career and to advance her “false narrative.”

He said if Walker had a date-rape drug in her system it would have shown up in toxicology test results, which would have been available to the special prosecutor who declined charges.

“It’s just smoke and mirrors,” he said.

Roberts and Walker, both Democrats, ran unopposed in the Nov. 8 election. Roberts represents a district in St. Louis. Walker’s district covers an area of north St. Louis County.

Walker first went public with her rape accusation in a letter sent Sept. 30 to Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, and other legislative leaders.

Walker told the Post-Dispatch that she went to Roberts’ apartment the night of Aug. 26, discussed politics, passed out, then woke up and could not recall what had happened.

She reported the alleged sexual assault to authorities about a month later, in late September, according to Roberts’ suit. In October, St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar, who served as a special prosecutor in the case, declined to press charges against Roberts.

Roberts’ civil suit claims the two had their first sexual contact at a political conference in Kansas City on Aug. 25, the day before Walker alleges she was raped.

Roberts claims that Walker, who is married, initiated the contact in Kansas City by asking to keep her purse in Roberts’ hotel room while she attended an evening social function. His suit says that once in Roberts’ room, Walker asked to use his shower and then undressed in front of him.

Roberts alleges that Walker posed for a nude photo and then the two had sexual contact. Walker left Roberts’ room about 2 a.m., the suit says.

Joel Currier is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter here: @joelcurrier.