Archive for Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Parolee faces new sex assault charge

Sentence was overturned by Supreme Court

July 13, 2005


— A man whose prison sentence for attempted rape of a teenager was cut short by the Kansas Supreme Court - and who later had a kidnapping charge thrown out by the court - faces charges of sexually assaulting another teenager.

Matthew J. Cullen, released from prison May 11 after violating his parole in January, was charged Monday in Johnson County District Court with one count of rape. Prosecutors allege he attacked a 17-year-old girl earlier this month on a bicycle path in Olathe.

A judge set bond in the Johnson County case at $1 million.

In April 2001, Cullen, 27, was sentenced to nine years and 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to the attempted rape of a 14-year-old girl. The state's highest court found that sentence unconstitutional because the judge departed upward from the sentencing guidelines - even though the defense agreed to the longer sentence.

The court ordered Cullen resentenced, and this time he was given the maximum under the guidelines - five years and one month.

Prosecutors attempted to reinstate a count of aggravated kidnapping, dismissed under a plea agreement, but the state Supreme Court threw out that charge and Cullen was paroled in December.

"This has been a very, very frustrating case for us," Johnson County Dist. Atty. Paul Morrison said. "We've spent a lot of time and energy over the last several years trying to keep him incarcerated.

"If we're successful" at prosecuting the new case, he said, "he'll never get out again."


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