Stephen H. Beattie, 55, of Malvern, is facing multiple charges following a high-profile investigation of alleged sexual misconduct at a Malvern funeral home.
Beattie is charged with third-degree sexual abuse (a Class C felony), lascivious acts with a minor (serious misdemeanor) and indecent exposure (serious misdemeanor). The charges were announced Thursday afternoon by Mills County Sheriff Eugene Goos.
The investigation included testimony from a 17-year-old male who told authorities that he had sexual encounters with Beattie and former Malvern Mayor and funeral home director Karl Hertz. On April 16, The 62-year-old Hertz shot himself to death in the yard of his residence after authorities had served a search warrant and seized computer equipment at his funeral home.
The juvenile told investigators that he had been an employee of the funeral home for three years and Hertz had shown him pornographic images on a computer multiple times. The juvenile also stated that he had engaged in sexual activity with Hertz for approximately seven months.
Sheriff Goos stated in a press release distributed on Thursday that had Hertz not taken his own life, the well-known Malvern businessman and civic leader would be facing the same charges as Beattie and additional criminal charges for similar sexual activity involving another juvenile male. Beattie was not home when deputies served an arrest warrant at his residence Thursday afternoon. Mills County Attorney Marci McClellan said her office received a telephone call later in the afternoon from Omaha attorney James Martin Davis, who said Beattie would be turning himself him to Mills County authorities on Friday.