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Archive for Saturday, August 5, 2000

Confession stands in molestation case

August 5, 2000

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A Topeka man's admission that he improperly touched a Lawrence girl can be used at trial, a judge ruled Friday.

The 61-year-old man is charged in Douglas County District Court with a single count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The charge stems from an incident late in 1999 when, according to testimony, he gave the now-15-year-old girl a ride to a friend's house.

Defense attorney David Voss asked District Judge Michael Malone on Friday not to allow investigators to testify at trial about their January interview of his client.

Douglas County Sheriff's Det. Doug Woods said he interviewed the man Jan. 7, after the girl made her allegation.

Woods said the man initially denied any wrongdoing, but his story changed under questioning.

"It began with 'Nothing happened,'" Woods said. "Then, 'A little bit happened.' Then the event that he confessed to."

The man then made a written statement, Woods said.

Woods said he made the man aware of his rights -- the man even signed a waiver -- before the interview.

But Voss said his client's heart condition and anxiety rendered him legally unable to waive his rights.

"He was upset enough he didn't remember having received the Miranda warning after it had happened," Voss said.

Assistant Douglas County Dist. Atty. Rick Trapp disagreed.

"There were no red flags raised at any point," he said.

Malone agreed.

The man is now scheduled to face trial -- before Malone, without a jury -- on Sept. 14.

The Journal-World generally does not identify suspects in sex crimes unless they have been convicted.

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