A judge sided with Leavenworth County commissioners in their effort to stop a group home for aging sexual predators from coming to a rural area outside Lawrence.
In a ruling released Tuesday, Leavenworth District Judge David King upheld a temporary restraining order that prevents the state from housing 70-year-old Leroy Hendricks in a home at 24130 Golden Road off Kansas Highway 32.
King agreed with county commissioners' claim that the proposed group home, which was to house Hendricks and up to two more aging predators under 24-hour supervision, violated zoning laws and required a special permit.
"The plaintiff is entitled to the enforcement of its zoning and subdivision regulations," King wrote.
A spokesman for the state agency that's trying to find a home for Hendricks said Tuesday afternoon it was too early to say what would happen next.
"We're reviewing the decision," said Mike Deines of the department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.
The key issue in the ruling was whether a state law protecting disabled people's right to live in group homes applied to Hendricks' case.
In Kansas, zoning rules can't be used to keep disabled people from living in residential areas. An attorney for the private agency that planned to house and supervise Hendricks argued that because of the law, Hendricks couldn't be kept out of the home.
But the judge rejected that argument, saying that the law "is not applicable to placement of mentally ill persons who pose a danger to others."
Hendricks, a repeat child molester, has spent the last decade undergoing treatment after being committed against his will to the state's sexual-predator treatment program at Larned State Hospital. This spring, a judge in Wichita ruled Hendricks had completed enough treatment to try living in the community again under supervision.
SRS initially planned to move Hendricks to a supervised home in Lawrence. But after a petition drive here opposing the plan, he was sent to the Leavenworth County site.
Hendricks moved into the home June 1, but was ordered out three days later when county commissioners won the temporary restraining order. Since then, he's been staying at Osawatomie State Hospital.
Charlotte Hastings, who helped organize the petition drive to keep the home out of Lawrence, said she was happy for Leavenworth County but concerned the state might try again to move Hendricks to Lawrence.
"I'm glad they got that shut down because it certainly wasn't an appropriate place for them to be," she said. "I don't think there's any appropriate place for them to be. They need to be on prison grounds."
- Sexual predator won't be moving in (04-29-06)
- Sexual predator still without residence (09-04-05)
- Judge upholds restraining order against Hendricks (07-20-05)
- 6News video: Judge upholds restraining order against sex predator home (07-19-05)
- Judge hears arguments on relocation of molester (07-13-05)
- 6News video: Court hears arguments about sexual predator group home (07-12-05)
- 6News video: Sexual predator ousted from group home (06-06-05)
- Questions persist about sex predator (06-05-05)
- Restraining order filed ordering Hendricks out (06-04-05)
- 6News video: Convicted child molester's location discovered (06-03-05)
- Notorious molester now in rural Lawrence (06-03-05)
- 6News video: Sex predator moves to rural Lawrence (06-02-05)
- Petition organizers see signs of support (05-12-05)
- State predicts high demand for program (04-26-05)
- 6News video: Local mothers circulate petition to keep sex predator away from Lawrence (04-25-05)
- Sex offender says move is in limbo (04-21-05)
- Agency: Molester doesn't pose danger (04-02-05)
- Notorious sex offender is moving to Lawrence (04-01-05)
- On the Street: Do you believe that child molesters can be rehabilitated? (04-01-05)
- 6News video: Sex offender moving to Lawrence (03-31-05)
- Sexual predator law under review (10-16-01)
- KBI.com: Registered offenders search
- Map of registered offenders in Douglas County