Topeka — The Kansas Supreme Court today will hear arguments on whether sex predator Leroy Hendricks can live in Leavenworth County.
Hendricks, 71, is the first offender in a special treatment program in Kansas to have reached a point where officials say he should be released into a monitored residence.
However, attempts to settle Hendricks in Lawrence and then rural Leavenworth County have been rebuffed.
Attorneys for Richard Whitson, director of Community Provisional Living Inc., are seeking to overturn a district court order that prevented placing Hendricks in a home in southwest Leavenworth County.
Whitson has a provisional license from the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services to operate a group home for up to three sex offenders, according to court records.
But a resolution by the Leavenworth County Commissioners said Whitson's license violated the county's zoning regulations.
Group homes for persons with mental illnesses and disabilities are allowed, but only if the person is not a danger to others, the commissioners argue. Hendricks, the commissioners claim, remains a danger.
But Whitson said because of Hendricks' age and physical problems from a stroke and diabetes, he was no longer a danger. He also would be monitored round-the-clock at the home, he said.
SRS has filed a legal brief siding with Whitson, saying the agency must be able to place offenders outside state hospitals once they are deemed ready.
Hendricks is one of more than 150 men who have been committed to the sex predator treatment program at Larned State Hospital. The program is for offenders who had already completed their prison sentence, but because they were determined to be a continuing danger, they could be placed in the program under a civil commitment process.
SRS argues that for the sex predator commitment program to be constitutional, it must allow for the eventual release of some of these individuals.
Hendricks has a long history of sex offenses involving children, dating back to the 1950s, according to court documents.