Michael Eugene Cassity had been free on $10,000 bond and appeared in court last week, requesting a court-appointed attorney.
A former Baldwin and Wellsville police officer accused of taking aggravated indecent liberties with an 8-year-old girl died Saturday, four days before he was scheduled to make a first appearance in Franklin County District Court.
Michael Eugene Cassity, 41, a lifelong Lawrence resident, died Saturday of a heart attack.
Franklin County sheriff's officials had arrested him earlier this month. Cassity allegedly had indecent contact with the girl on several occasions between November 1998 and March 13. The charges stemmed from the most recent alleged incident.
Deputy County Atty. Frederick Meier II said Cassity, who had been free on $10,000 bond, had appeared in court last week requesting a court-appointed attorney. Cassity was supposed to make his first appearance with counsel Wednesday.
The sheriff's department investigated the case after a school official reported an alleged case of child abuse March 17. A sheriff's deputy arrested Cassity June 9 at Ottawa's Wal-Mart Distribution Center, where he was working as a loss prevention officer.
Cassity had been an officer for the Baldwin Police Department until he resigned in October 1993. He also had been an officer in Wellsville in the early- to mid-1980s.
Meier said Monday that he had never had an adult defendant die before resolution of a case.
He said it would be difficult to say how the case otherwise would have concluded.
"I had made a plea offer, but the charge against him was a level-three person felony with presumptive imprisonment," Meier said.
Under Kansas sentencing guidelines, Cassity would have served between 46 and 206 months in prison -- depending on his criminal history -- if convicted of aggravated indecent liberties.
Meier said he will file a motion to dismiss charges against Cassity. Meier found out about Cassity's death Sunday.
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