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Archive for Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Fourth suspect in rape arrested

Three adults, juvenile accused of having sex with 13-year-old

June 18, 2003

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A judge set unusually low bonds Tuesday for two of the four suspects accused in the rape of a 13-year-old Lawrence girl.

District Court Judge Pro Tem Peggy Kittel said she considered the men's ties to the community and their lack of a criminal record before setting their bond at $15,000, half the amount requested by the prosecutor.

"That's a substantially lower bond than I would normally set for this charge," Kittel told one of the men.

A police spokesman said the four suspects -- an 18-year-old Tonganoxie man and three males from Lawrence, ages 27, 18 and 17 -- furnished alcohol to the girl and had sex with her Saturday at a home in central Lawrence.

Under state law, people under the age of 14 are considered unable to give consent for sex.

Police arrested the Tonganoxie man Tuesday morning, a day after arresting the other three.

Later Tuesday, the three adult suspects appeared before Kittel by videoconference from the Douglas County Jail, each facing one count of rape.

Assistant Dist. Atty. Brad Burke requested bond for each of the three be set at $30,000. He said his recommendation was based in part on the severity of the alleged crime and on the weight of the evidence.

Kittel set the bond at $25,000 for the older man, who Burke said has failed to appear in court at least once during an earlier case.

But neither of the 18-year-olds has a criminal record, and both grew up in the area. Kittel set their bond at $15,000 each.

The 18-year-old Lawrence man is a graduate of Free State High School and a member of the National Guard, his attorney, Roy Artman, said as he made the argument for a low bond.

"I think that he's not likely to threaten, harass or injure the victim if he's released on bond," Artman said.

Kittel assigned their cases to Douglas County District Judge Paula Martin's court and scheduled their next hearing for Thursday afternoon.

The Journal-World generally does not disclose the names of suspects in sex crimes unless they are convicted.

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