Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Judge hears arguments on relocation of molester

SRS fighting court order blocking Hendricks’ move

July 13, 2005


— A decision could come within a week on whether a repeat child molester is allowed to live in a group home in southwest Leavenworth County.

During a two-hour hearing Tuesday in Leavenworth County District Court, Judge David King heard arguments for and against placing 70-year-old Leroy Hendricks in the home on Golden Road, near Lawrence. Until King makes a decision, a temporary order keeping Hendricks out of the home remains in effect.

"We're afraid that if Leavenworth County gets the job done and they enforce the injunction, it'll be dumped back in Douglas County," said Lawrence resident Charlotte Hastings, who organized a petition drive to stop a plan to house Hendricks in Lawrence.

The dispute, now three months old, could be a sign of similar battles to come in years ahead, both in Kansas and nationwide.

Program growing

Starting in the mid-1990s, at least 16 states enacted "sexual-predator" laws similar to the Kansas law that has allowed Hendricks to be held against his will the past decade at Larned State Hospital. But, at least in Kansas' case, the overwhelming number of people admitted to the program have yet to proceed through treatment to the point they're allowed to try living in the community again.

Austin desLauriers, a psychologist with the sexual predator treatment program at Larned State Hospital, talks about Leroy Hendricks and his treatment, during a court hearing on Tuesday morning in Leavenworth County.

Austin desLauriers, a psychologist with the sexual predator treatment program at Larned State Hospital, talks about Leroy Hendricks and his treatment, during a court hearing on Tuesday morning in Leavenworth County.

"We just haven't had many graduates of these programs," attorney Gregory Lee, who's representing the agency that wants to house Hendricks, said during Tuesday's hearing.

One recent estimate was that the 136-person program at Larned could grow by about 100 residents in the next decade, a factor that's causing the state to consider a new range of options to get residents out the door more quickly.

Community 'concerns'

A recent report by the Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit said at least 10 residents of the Larned program have become frail or disabled because of physical disease - a number likely to grow in the future.

The report listed two options for moving residents out of the program more quickly: transferring medically frail residents to community group homes, and releasing younger residents back into the community instead of to the state hospital in Osawatomie when they finish all five treatment steps at Larned.

State leaders say though there are no specific plans to expand community housing for rehabbed sexual predators, it's reasonable to expect more disputes in the future about where they go once they leave Larned.

From left, Leavenworth County Commissioner Gerald Oroke and Charlotte Hastings and Missy Pfeifer, both of Lawrence, watch the court hearing on the proposed group home in Leavenworth County.

From left, Leavenworth County Commissioner Gerald Oroke and Charlotte Hastings and Missy Pfeifer, both of Lawrence, watch the court hearing on the proposed group home in Leavenworth County.

"There's bound to be questions and concerns, and we're prepared to work with communities to answer those questions," Mike Deines of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services said.

Safety disputed

Leavenworth County Commissioners got a temporary restraining order last month after alleging the group home that would house Hendricks violated zoning laws. The purpose of Tuesday's hearing was to determine whether it should become a permanent injunction.

Hendricks, who for now is living at Osawatomie State Hospital, did not attend the hearing.

Lee, who represents Lawrence-based Community Provisional Living, which has contracted with SRS to care for Hendricks, called witnesses who described Hendricks' deteriorating physical health, the five phases of treatment he's completed at Larned, and the round-the-clock supervision he would receive in the group home.

Austin DesLauriers, a psychologist who has overseen some of Hendricks' treatment, testified he didn't think Hendricks would be at risk for reoffending while living in the group home.

"It's a structured, supervised program that, in my view, will not permit that to occur," he said.

But Leavenworth County Counselor David Van Parys repeatedly said that Hendricks poses some danger, otherwise he wouldn't need to be supervised.

Lee argued that the restraining order "discriminates against someone that is developmentally disabled and entitled to live in a group home."


OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 7 months ago

They pretty much admitted that he's not a risk ONLY due to his supervision, which is the same as saying that only the supervision can keep him from offending again. This reminds me of that nut-case that killed those people in Idaho, who was only let out of prison because the terms of his probation would place restrictions on his movement. Then, the nut-case slipped away from the system that was supposed to keep tabs on him, and he killed a family with a hammer, and went on a weeks-long rape binge with two kids, killing one of them as well.

This guy in Leavenworth may be very old, maybe too old and tired to try to slip away, but it's infuriating to know that we are being lied to about the truth regarding his mental state. IF he wasn't so old, and IF he wasn't supervised, he WOULD be trolling for his next victim right now. That's the message I'm getting.

One sign that our society is not healthy is how often we are willing to put children at risk for the sake of adults. Let's do what it takes to ensure the safety of our children, not to take risks with someone who "probably" won't harm any more kids. This man has lived a long life, and he's had opportunities to try a live a good life. We should do what it takes to make sure that the kids of Douglas and Leavenworth counties have the same chances. Being raped is not a good way to start out in life.

Ragingbear 12 years, 7 months ago

It's not like this guy is even a Lawrence resident or anything. At least if he was, they would have a leg to stand on. Instead, other counties are wanting to take out the only "liberal" foot hold in the state by turning it into a safe-haven for all sorts of sexual predators. Let it be known that we do not want to become the dumping ground for every whack job that should have been lobotomized, castrated, amputated and disemboweled as thier sentence.

christie 12 years, 7 months ago

I've got a great idea.

All of these people who say these sexual offenders are not at risk should open their doors and allow them into their homes. The released sexual offender would be a great baby sitter while mom and dad are at work don't you think? And, should said offender re-offend, then these people should serve the same sentence as the offender.

That ought to do the trick.

Baille 12 years, 7 months ago

I share all of your concerns. I have two young children of my own and have worked with sex offenders in a previous career. Scary stuff.

I am interested to know what your solutions are, though. I hear a lot of complaining, but no one has put forth any serious suggestions as to what should be done. Kansas has been on the cutting edge in that we can hold sexual offenders even past their imposed sentence. When challenged, the state took it to the US Supreme Court and won. But what do we do with these people when we can not hold them any longer? What do we do with those who require supervision as part of their probation, but that do not qualify for the civil commitment period?

Please, don't suggest killing them or male some silly vigilante comment. I am interested in serious thoughts on the matter. What do we do with them? As a community that will have to have these people living among us, how do we accomodate them and keep our children safe?

Jay Bird 12 years, 7 months ago

christie has a good idea there. If he's so safe, then he would be good with THEIR kids. He does have experience. Why here? Why do we have to foot the bill. I kick in a buck for a bullit in his head before I'll chip in the house and feed him. Why not send him back to his own hometown? Make him save up the money for his own release.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 7 months ago

If I'm insane, I am locked up in an institution until I'm no longer insane, correct?

There has never been a successful treatment program for sexual predators. Once they go to that extreme, they cannot be rehabilitated. That being the case, I think that falls into that catagory of "still insane", which means that they need to be locked up. In jail? No. But not out in society.

missi 12 years, 7 months ago

I attended the court hearing in Leavenworth regarding sexual predator housing.I am ANGRY! The attorney, and others advocating for Hendricks kept trying to compare Sexual Predator Housing to the housing of the mentally disabled or the elderly. Hendricks is both, but he is also categorized as a Violent Sexual Predator. DO NOT try to tell me (a mother of 3) that a group home for this sexual predator, or others like him being moved into our community is the same as a group home for say adults with downs syndrome.(which would be worth advocating.) PEOPLE we are not talking about just the mentally disabled we are talking about vile human beings who have the distinct desire to rape our children! IN the court room yesterday they kept saying that they did not believe Hendricks to be a threat while he was in this facility. This facility is called Sexual Predator Transitional Housing because... it is just that TRANSITIONAL. This is the 6th phase of the Sexual Predator Program. Transitional means that this housing will aid Hendricks and others like him to Transition back into OUR community. I am not targeting Hendricks alone. I am appealing to all those involved to realize that this type of housing would be a detriment to our community. It is up to us as a whole to stand up and shout "We do not want this program in our town. Call or write your local representative. Make a difference!!!! Missi Pfeifer Lawrence

missi 12 years, 7 months ago

This is regarding the comment posted by baille. You make it sound as if we have no choice but to put up with these kind of sick human beings living in our community, which in part is true. Lawrence already has 63 of our own registerd sex offenders. These people are already here and we know where they are. The problem is people like the owners of Lawrence Provisional Living who are lining their own pockects with starting a business that will bring even more violent sexual predators to our community. It is up to us to say NO to this, not sit back and allow this to happen. My solution on what to do with them is to change the laws that set these individuals free after repeatedly hurting children.Our judicial system is our solution to keeping these perverts off the streets and out of our community

Baille 12 years, 7 months ago

We have no choice but to put up with some sexual offenders in our midst. That is true.

The medical community, and I think rightly so, has separated those guilty of sexual offenses into various categories. Some are indeed pedophiles or uncontrollable sexual predators. Many more are people who are not primarily attracted to minors (pedophiles, which are generally considered to be fairly rare) and who will not necessarily offend again given proper treatment. These are not the repeat offenders so far as we know. (And really there is no consistently good way to figure out who these repeat offenders will be.)

I think the former group should stay segregated from the community in a penal and/or secure treatment facility. The latter must be released. It is indefensible to hold people forever because we think they may reoffend.

So if we must release the non-pedophiles and non-predators once their time is served, what do we do with them?

I am uncomfortable just letting them go without supervision or warning, but that has been dealt with to some degree by mandatory registration. However, failure to register and update registration information is a chronic problem. One solution would be to have those who fail to register or move without updating their registration put back into jail. This requires vigilant enforcement - and money.

I am also uncomfortable concentrating recently-released offenders in any one community. I assume SRS is doing this because it is cheaper. And I know how no one around here wants their taxes to go up. So how do we handle that? We mandate that every released offender move back into the community where he offended? That seems counter-productive and would lead to a much higher rate of recidivism.

I am by no means or manner advocating for the approcch taken by SRS in this case. But this is a serious issue and the kill-them-all approach is ridiculous. Who else has some ideas on how to handle this problem?

megorama 12 years, 7 months ago

I think it is a great time to post this link....see how 'safe' your current neighborhood REALLY is.

keridcollins 12 years, 7 months ago

I would like to say that I am one of the mothers that started this petition here in Lawrence. I attended the hearing in Leavenworth yesterday. What these people are trying to do to us is unheard of. SRS is trying to get us to believe this man is not a risk because he will have 24/7 supervision, but what about phase 7 of the program when he's not. This house has an alarm system on the doors, but not the windows. If Leroy fell out of the window they figured the fall to the cement would kill him. The training that the employees of this house received for their position was FIRST AID training. This man is so disabled that he cannot hurt a child. But his past time hobby is putting together MODELS. Last time I saw this done it took quite an effort and requires quite a bit of hand use. His stroke two years ago has left him unable to rape a child, but he carries a cane. Folks my age may remember the shower scene from an old Linda Blair movie where she was raped by plugger handle. It wasn't Exorsist, and a pedophile didn't do it. But you get my point, right? He says he has no interest in that anymore. Hell no, he has been locked up for 20 years. But I bet He thinks about it the first chance he gets.He has to take a lie detector test every 3 months. Big Deal! People pass and fail these lots of times. This man has no conscience. So how will that test hold up on him? Do you not think they won't find ways to get around them? These people are Mentally Unstable and heed to be locked up where there are people to deal with them and no children at risk. This mans crimes are terrible and he has better treatment and more rights to health care and housing than any of us will have at his age and his is state funded. I'd rather fund the children he harmed. No one asked me if this is where I wanted my money to go. Is this the way we award criminal now days?

Charlotte 12 years, 7 months ago

After attending the hearing in Leavenworth about the sexual predator transitional housing issue. All I can think to say is holy cow! Why can't the SRS and all others concerned get the message? It is not a Leroy Hendricks issue; it is the sexual predator transitional housing issue. Mr. Hendricks is just one of many that will be in these facilities. Who is to say that the others to follow him, will be less or more capeable of escaping the ficillety and harming a child. If we don't say NO you can not put the rights of the sexual predators, above the right of our Children to Be & Feel safe. These facilities, housing sexual predators do not belong in areas where even one child is at a risk! If we are to believe that these vile persons are not a threat why must they be under 24 7 surveillance with security system? Pedophiles are a clear and present danger no matter the circumstances, location, registration ECT! Proof of this! Read the paper, watch the news, it is happening daily everywhere, nothing will stop them from having the desires to rape a child if given the chance. Lock them up keep them there! Our children are worth every penny it will cost, and it will still be less cost to the taxpayer than the transitional housing. Also, the issue of not lining the pockets of a private individuals bidding on opening these facilities. (Not to mention that they don't have any training or experience dealing with the criminals, only having cared for special needs clients in the past )

Call you representative!!!!!! Tell them to create laws that will really take care of the pedophile problem. Suggestions! One time is all you get! Re offend and you are in prison for life simple. Do this before anyone else has to suffer the loss of a child.

Web site

Respectfully Charlotte

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