One of the state's most notorious child molesters is being released from a state prison hospital next week and coming to live in Lawrence.
A Sedgwick County judge has said that 70-year-old Leroy Hendricks is ready to move on from a decade-long stay in a sex-predator treatment program at Larned State Hospital. Hendricks is known for fighting the state's sexual-predator law before the U.S. Supreme Court, and he famously was quoted saying that the only way he'd stop molesting children was if he died.
State officials say Hendricks is in deteriorating health and has completed all five stages of a treatment program at Larned. Early next week he'll move to a supervised home setting in Lawrence for an indefinite time. He will have an escort with him around the clock, seven days a week, at an estimated cost of $278,000 for the first 15 months, according to state officials.
"You might call it like an extended visit to see how he's going to do" outside the hospital, said Leslie Huss, central office coordinator for Kansas' Sexual Predator Treatment Program. "Our focus will be on providing him the supports and services he needs while making sure we have provisions in place to assure the safety of the community."
The state's department of Social and Rehabilitation Services isn't saying where in Lawrence Hendricks will live, citing concern for his privacy. He won't be listed on the state's Internet offender database because his crimes happened long before the database took effect.
For more on the story, see Friday's Journal-World.