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Archive for Friday, July 27, 2001

Priest wants sex-crime sentence reduced

July 27, 2001

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— A former Catholic priest who pleaded guilty in February to four sex crimes involving altar boys wants his sentence changed to the terms of his plea agreement meaning he would get out of prison right away.

Harvey County Judge Ted Ice in March sentenced Robert K. Larson, 71, to three to 10 years in prison. In doing so, Ice rejected a plea agreement with prosecutors under which Larson would have served 90 days, then been placed on five years probation.

Larson, who is in the state prison in Lansing, pleaded guilty to one count of indecent liberties with a child and three counts of sexual battery. All were related to incidents between 1984 and 1986 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Newton.

Larson's sentence was dictated by the laws in place at the time of his offenses. Those laws permit a reconsideration of sentence after 90 days.

Larson's lawyer, Dan Monnat, said he wants Larson's sentence changed to the terms of a plea agreement approved by Larson's victims.

Ice may have a hearing on Monnat's motion at which Larson's victims may be allowed to testify or he may rule on the motion without a hearing. No date for the decision has been scheduled.

Paul Schwartz, one of the four victims Larson admitted to molesting, said he would come to court if necessary to urge the judge to keep Larson in prison.

"He did the crime; he's now doing the time. He's trying to get out of it," said Schwartz, who lives in Lenexa. "He's a convicted child molester."

Larson was a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Wichita for 30 years before church leaders removed him from the diocese in 1988.

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