was a Mormon church member and Nauvoo Inn owner in Nauvoo, Illinois; charged with sexually abusing his employees; entered an Alford plea in 2004, resulting in a conviction while maintaining his innocence before the court; January 2024: lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho

Case Summary

Kay Walker was a Mormon church member and owner of the Nauvoo Inn in Nauvoo, Illinois, a city with deep historical significance to the LDS church.

The hotel is now called the Inn at Old Nauvoo as of January 2024.

Walker graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah in 1967 with a bachelor of science degree.

from the Herald-Whig on 2004-03-02:

” Former employee unhappy with Walker decision

Mar 2, 2004 Updated Oct 30, 2020

By Rodney Hart Herald-Whig Staff Writer CARTHAGE, Ill. — Kortnie Ames was not happy at what she saw in the Hancock County courtroom Monday. She watched with disgust as former Nauvoo businessman Kay Walker, 61, agreed to a stipulated bench trial and was found guilty of 10 counts of battery. He’ll be sentenced April 12 for charges involving girls who used to work for Walker at the Nauvoo Family Inn and Suites. Ames, 22, worked for Walker at the hotel. The Keokuk, Iowa, native said she was also a victim of inappropriate touching and conduct from Walker, and she quit in June 2002. Under terms of the stipulated bench trial agreement, Walker will not have to serve any jail time, and he was fined $2,200. Ames, who now works in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the hotel industry, disagreed with the deal. “I don’t think that pleading down to the battery charges is right,” Ames said. “There are so many girls involved, I think it’s just ridiculous.” Ames was not named in any of the criminal counts against Walker, which originally included three aggravated criminal sexual abuse counts. All 10 of the battery counts against Walker are Class A misdemeanors, meaning he does not have to register as a sex offender. Ames said she has contacted an attorney and plans to file a civil lawsuit against Walker. And there are more than just eight victims involved, she said. “I traveled with him for a year and a half and I saw it many, many times,” Ames said. “He asked me if I thought he was doing anything wrong and I told him yes. He just called it ‘a friendly hug,’ but it wasn’t. “When I quit, I didn’t even have to tell him why. He knew.” Hancock County State’s Attorney Karen Andrews said she agreed to the stipulated bench trial to help civil cases against Walker, and she said none of the victims were traumatized by the incidents. Ames disagreed. “I know at least one of the victims is in therapy right now,” Ames said. “It’s very disturbing.” Diane Mayfield, director of the Macomb-based Western Illinois Regional Council/Community Action Agency Victim Services, disagrees with any assessment there is no trauma involved in sexual harassment cases. “As an advocate for survivors of sexual harassment, because basically this is what this is, everybody reacts to trauma differently. And harassment, no matter what kind, can be traumatic for individuals,” Mayfield said. “Especially when they may take the blame for it, which is a very common reaction. In doing so, it often times results in the same feelings as if it were full sexual assault. “The healing for that can literally take years. We don’t really want to imply that this was not something that wasn’t traumatic.” The battery counts allege Walker inappropriately had contact with buttocks and breasts of female employees. Ames said most of the employees were teens. “Nobody around here would work for him,” Ames said. “He’d bring in girls from Utah and Idaho to come work for him. And 90 percent of them left, too.” Contact Staff Writer Rodney Hart at rhart@whig.com or (217) 221-3370″

from the Deseret News on 2004-03-03:

“A former Nauvoo hotel owner was convicted Monday of 11 counts of battery against eight former female employees.

Kay L. Walker could face fines and a two-year probationary period for offensively touching his employees at the Nauvoo Family Inn and Suites, Hancock County (Ill.) Attorney Karen Andrews said.

The guilty conviction is not a sexual offense, and Walker will not have to register on any sexual offender registries. Attempts to reach him on Wednesday were unsuccessful, but in a statement sent to the media in September Walker said all allegations against him were false.

Eight different victims, including one juvenile, were named in court documents. All were employed by Walker, most as housekeepers, Andrews said.

Court documents indicate the abuses took place between September 2001 and July 2003 at Walker’s hotel. The charges state Walker had various types of sexual and physical “contact of an insulting nature” with the women.

Carthage Circuit Court Judge David Stoverink asked for a presentence investigation. Andrews said the battery counts will be on Walker’s permanent record. Sentencing is set for April 12.

Prosecutors originally charged Walker with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, a class 2 felony; three counts of aggravated battery in a public place, a class 3 misdemeanor; and six counts of battery, a class A misdemeanor.

Andrews reduced the charges to misdemeanors. She said the only reason felony charges were ever filed was because the battery occurred outside of the state’s 18-month statute of limitations. She said the women are now pursuing civil lawsuits as well.

Walker retired in September 2003, after his initial arrest, from his post as chief operating officer of the hotel’s parent company. He has made large financial contributions to the community by growing the small, 20-room Nauvoo Inn and Suites into the community’s largest business.

Nauvoo holds an important place in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as such is a popular destination for LDS travelers. It was there that the LDS Church flourished in the 1830s and ’40s under its founder, Joseph Smith. The Nauvoo Temple was burned by an arsonist shortly after members of the church were driven from the Midwest city.

In June 2002, the modern-day LDS Church dedicated a reconstructed Nauvoo Temple, which has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors.

The city has only about 1,000 residents, but draws about 250,000 visitors annually, a Chamber of Commerce spokesman said. ”

from the Herald-Whig on 2004-12-03:

” Probable cause found against Walker in sexual harassment case

Dec 3, 2004 Updated Oct 30, 2020

CARTHAGE, Ill. — Former Nauvoo businessman Kay Walker pleaded not guilty Thursday to aggravated battery for allegedly sexually harassing an employee of the Nauvoo Family Inn and Suites. During Thursday’s preliminary hearing, probable cause was found against Walker, the former owner and manager of the Nauvoo Family Inn and Suites. He will have a pre-trial hearing Jan. 10 in Carthage. Walker also faces six preliminary hearings Dec. 21. On June 10, Judge David Stoverink rejected a stipulated bench trial agreement for Walker, who was found guilty of 10 counts of misdemeanor battery during a stipulated bench trial March 1. In exchange for agreeing to the stipulated bench trial, Walker was not required to enter a plea and would have served two years of conditional discharge probation, meaning he wouldn’t have had to report to a probation officer. Most of the incidents were alleged to have taken place with young girls at the Nauvoo Family Inn and Suites. Walker was arrested in October 2003 and pleaded not guilty. The case started in the summer of 2003 when a civil complaint was filed by one of the alleged victims. Walker originally was charged with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, three counts of Class 3 misdemeanor aggravated battery in a public place, and six counts of Class A misdemeanor battery. Those charges were reinstated after the June 10 hearing.”

Nauvoo man found guilty on nine counts of battery

Nov 15, 2005 Updated Oct 30, 2020

By Rodney Hart Herald-Whig Staff Writer CARTHAGE, Ill. — A former Nauvoo business man agreed to a stipulated bench trial Monday and was found guilty of nine misdemeanor battery counts. But 62-year-old Kay Walker remained defiant to the end of his 26-month legal ordeal, saying he agreed to the stipulated bench trial because he didn’t have to admit guilt. Facing “the overwhelming costs of continuing this battle” and 12 felony counts if he went to trial, Walker said agreed to the stipulated bench trial. “I choose to end an over two-year-long nightmare of shock, pain, bewilderment and profound sadness for my wife, Angela, and me,” Walker said after the hearing. “We now go forward, free of this crushing entanglement.” Judge Larry Heiser concurred with the stipulated bench trial and found Walker guilty of all nine battery charges, sentencing him to 24 months of conditional discharge probation. Walker must complete a custom-designed employer and employee relations program in Peoria within 60 days. The program includes a segment on sexual harassment prevention. The charges stemmed from January 2001 to July 2003 when Walker was part-owner and manager of the Nauvoo Family Inn. He was found guilty of having “contact of an insulting and physical nature” with female employees at the business, investigators said. Walker said he “felt pressured financially” because he had more than $200,000 in attorney’s fees. He sold his share of the business and now lives in Idaho. Walker paid a $4,863 fine Monday and was also sentenced to 30 days in the Hancock County Jail, but the jail time will be dropped if he complies with probation requirements. “We contacted the victims and they essentially wanted this episode in their lives put behind them,” Hancock County State’s Attorney Jim Drozdz said. “I’m sure their individual circumstances have changed during this period. It was a very traumatic experience for all of them and they wanted to get this behind them.” Walker was found guilty of 10 counts of misdemeanor battery during a stipulated bench trial March 1, 2004. However, Judge David Stoverink was not bound by the agreement in his sentencing and rejected the agreement several months later, and Walker withdrew his stipulated bench trial agreement. Walker said his business was “substantially destroyed” and his family shunned after he was initially charged in September 2003. Walker’s family hired a private investigator, and Walker said a few of the charges “may have been the product of perhaps an understandable misunderstanding.” But the rest of the charges, Walker said, “were the result of greed and deliberate deception, plotting and betrayal.” When told Walker said he felt “threatened” by potential felony charges, Drozdz said: “I think there is a question of witness tampering,” but he declined further comment. Walker said he would eventually “publish the full history of this matter.” His attorney, Ronald Hamm of Peoria, said the charges against Walker originated from a September 2003 meeting “arranged by a few disgruntled employees” who “wanted to bring him down.” “We are happy that this nightmare is over and are confident that Mr. Walker will never be in a criminal court in the future,” Hamm said. Several of the victims filed federal lawsuits and settled out of court, and at least one federal lawsuit is pending, Drozdz said. Contact Staff Writer Rodney Hart at rhart@whig.com or (217) 221-3370

from the Deseret News on 2005-11-16:

“A former Nauvoo hotelier has admitted there was enough evidence to convict him of groping several of his female employees but that he wasn’t guilty as charged.

Kay L. Walker, 62, entered the so-called Alford plea Monday as part of an agreement with the Illinois state attorney’s office that would reduce five felony and six misdemeanor counts of battery to misdemeanor charges.

“I choose to end an over two-year-long nightmare of shock, pain, bewilderment and profound sadness for my wife, Angela, and me,” Walker said in a statement. “We now go forward, free of this crushing entanglement.”

Walker was sentenced to a one-month suspended jail term, 24 months of conditional discharge on each of the 11 counts and was ordered to pay more than $4,500 in fines and court fees for offensively touching his employees, one of them a juvenile at the time.

“Faced with the overwhelming costs of continuing this battle, and the daunting risk of defending felony charges, regardless of their lack of merit, I have accepted the disposition offered by the state’s attorney,” Walker said.

The former owner of Nauvoo Family Inn and Suites could avoid any jail time if he does not violate the terms of the plea agreement. However, any of the eight victims, who were employed by Walker as hotel housekeepers, could file individual civil lawsuits.

Walker retired and sold his 20-room hotel in September 2003, “when the pressure of the pending cases and the media reports made this impossible,” his attorney Ron Hamm said in a prepared statement. In his quest to regain stability, Walker relocated his family and has tried to maintain employment.

“We are happy that this nightmare is over and are confident that Mr. Walker will never be in a criminal court in the future,” Hamm said.

Walker plans to write and publish a history of the circumstances. “

Sources
  1. marriage of the accused
    view source details | 28 Jan 1966 | Charlotte Observer
  2. Former employee unhappy with Walker decision - Quincy Herald-Whig - 2004-03-02
    view source details | |
  3. Former hotel owner in Nauvoo convicted - Deseret News - 2004-03-03
    view source details | |
  4. Probable cause found against Walker in sexual harassment case - Quincy Herald-Whig - 2004-12-03
    view source details | |
  5. Nauvoo man found guilty on nine counts of battery - Quincy Herald-Whig - 2005-11-15
    view source details | |
  6. Ex-Nauvoo hotelier enters plea to end sex-abuse case - Deseret News - 2005-11-16
    view source details | |
Sources excerpts

Mormon Sexual Abuse Map

International map of locations where active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints perpetrated or allegedly perpetrated sexual abuse or other sex crimes, or where LDS leaders failed or allegedly failed to help abuse survivors.