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Archive for Tuesday, April 13, 1999

JUDGE GRANTS PROTECTION ORDER

April 13, 1999

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A 56-year-old Baldwin man told a judge Monday that he already knows he's supposed to stay away from a 13-year-old girl whose father filed a protection order against him.

James T. Underberg said a no-contact order was part of his March sentencing on three counts of child endangerment.

"There's been a trial on this, and it's common knowledge that there's no contact," Underberg told Douglas County District Judge Pro Tem Peggy Kittel.

The girl's father still had a right to file the protection order, Kittel explained.

After Underberg waived his right to a trial, Kittel granted the protection order, in effect until April 12, 2000.

Underberg initially faced five charges of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and two counts of rape from incidents involving 9-, 12- and 13-year-old girls from November 1994 to September 1997. He later reached a plea agreement with the district attorney's office.

The girl involved in the protection order testified in March 1998 that her family was staying at the Underbergs' residence when she was awakened one night by the door from the Underbergs' bedroom closing. She said she saw a man's shadow, and someone got on top of her for at least 15 minutes without moving or touching her. She was 9 years old at the time.

Her father declined to comment Monday after the hearing at the advice of his attorney.

Underberg also will be in court Thursday before Judge Robert Fairchild, who will consider a motion to modify Underberg's sentence. Underberg's defense attorney is arguing that "prejudicial and improper comments" the father made during his client's sentencing hearing tainted the punishment the judge handed down.

Fairchild sentenced Underberg to one year for each count of child endangerment and ordered the sentences to be served consecutively.

-- Deb Gruver's phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is dgruver@ljworld.com.

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