Archive for Sunday, January 27, 2002

Supreme Court sanctions sexual predator’s release

January 27, 2002


— A Kansas sexual predator who fought his confinement before the U.S. Supreme Court has been released from the state's treatment program.

Michael T. Crane gained "conditional release" Friday after being confined more than three years beyond his prison sentence. He was arrested after a 1993 assault on a Leawood video store clerk.

Under the release, Crane will continue to meet with a therapist, who will file annual reports with the court for at least five years. He must also join a support group like Sexaholics Anonymous.

The high court ruled on Crane's challenge Tuesday, a 7-2 decision saying states wishing to continue holding offenders beyond their prison terms must prove the offender can't control themselves.

Crane's attorney, John C. Donham, successfully argued that the state failed to prove at Crane's original trial that he had trouble controlling his behavior.

Crane's release was in the works before Tuesday's decision, but the justices' opinion could significantly shorten the time he will be supervised. The Kansas Supreme Court is now expected to order a new predator trial for Crane in Johnson County District Court.

Prosecutors would be unlikely to seek a retrial because the mental condition that resulted in his initial commitment has changed and doctors think he is no longer a threat to the community.

Now 40, Crane says he is a different person from the one who chronically exposed himself to strangers with little thought about how his actions affected his victims.

Crane was committed to the predator program in 1998 after he finished serving his prison sentence for the video store attack.

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