Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Judge upholds restraining order against Hendricks

Future home of sexual predator still up in the air, state says

July 20, 2005


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."


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.