Woman charged for acting in concert with husband to sexually abuse minors
Gena Studdard, 53, of Wasola, is being held in the Ozark County Jail without bond in connection with an Ozark County indictment of statutory sodomy in the first-degree, child molestation in the first-degree and statutory sodomy in the second degree that was filed Sept. 8. The charges come with allegations that Gena acted in concert with her husband Jerry Studdard, who is currently serving a 15 year prison sentence for his part in the abuse.
The indictment is a way of charging Studdard with the crimes, but instead of bring brought forth by the Prosecuting Attorney, the allegation and evidence is presented to a panel of Ozark County residents who determined that there was enough evidence for Gena to face the charges. It does not mean that she has been found guilty of the charges.
She was arraigned Sept. 22, and a plea hearing or trial setting is scheduled before Circuit Judge Craig Carter on Oct. 4.
According to the probable cause statement prepared by Ozark County Sheriff’s Sgt. Seth Miller, in March of this year the officer was assigned a follow up investigation regarding sexual and physical abuse committed by Jerry Studdard and alleged in concert with Jerry’s wife Gena between 2005 to 2017.
Among the allegations listed in the court document against Jerry, with Gena there and watching, is that a 15-year-old boy was picked up by the throat and slammed against a wall, causing his head to be cut open by a door hinge. The wound bled profusely, and the boy threw up because of the injury and the emotional impact is still with him today, the statement said. Another allegation is that Jerry beat the boy with a dogwood branch on the bare fronts of his legs, causing severe bleeding and flesh torn from his legs. Another time, Jerry hit the boy with a closed fist in the face, the documents say. In addition to physical abuse, Jerry has been found guilty of molesting multiple children, which the documents say the other children witnessed on a daily basis.
Gena is said to have been working on concert with Jerry, knowingly subjecting the children to the abuse.
If convicted, she would be subject to imprisonment and required to register as a sex offender, requiring a lifetime of supervision.