Archive for Saturday, August 19, 2006

Man accused of molestation explores plea deal

August 19, 2006

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A Lawrence man accused of molesting a young female acquaintance has agreed to postpone his arraignment while plea negotiations with prosecutors continue.

The man's attorney, Sarah Swain, said Friday that exploring a plea deal was not an admission of guilt but a way to possibly spare children from having to testify.

"It just means that in the case when you have a child victim, generally you try to explore any possible negotiation before you have a child take the stand," Swain said.

During a short appearance Friday, Douglas County District Court Judge Michael Malone agreed to continue a motion hearing until Sept. 20.

"I think we are ready to proceed on it. We are just waiting to see if it's going to be voided or not by a plea," Assistant Dist. Atty. Amy McGowan told Malone during the hearing.

This week, Swain filed a motion to dismiss the case and suppress a statement the man made to police officers.

In her motion to dismiss the case, Swain wrote that the defense believes the accuser has alleged a timeline that would have expired the case based on the state's five-year statute of limitations.

Douglas County Dist. Atty. Charles Branson's office filed the charges on May 8.

In a separate motion, Swain has also asked the judge to suppress the man's statements to officers during an interview on May 2 because she wrote that the man was not aware of the severity of the crime he was accused of committing when he waived his Miranda Rights and agreed to speak without his attorney.

Prosecutors and investigators allege that the man committed aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated indecent liberties with a child between 2000 and 2001, when the acquaintance was between 8 and 10 years old.

The man is listed on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry because of a 2000 conviction in Schaumburg, Ill., for abducting a 14-year-old girl, according to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. The man said in his first appearance that the previous case was Internet-related.

The man has been free on a $50,000 surety bond since May 18, according to court records.

The Journal-World does not generally name those accused of sex crimes, unless there is a conviction.

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