Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson has asked that a special prosecutor take over a Lawrence child-solicitation case.
That's because Branson represented the defendant, Stephen R. Stout, in 2000, four years before Branson was elected the county's top prosecutor.
During a brief court appearance Wednesday, an assistant in Branson's office told the judge that the district attorney had asked Jefferson County Attorney Mike Hayes to take the case.
According to court records, Branson represented Stout, 47, in a Douglas County case in which he was accused of exposing himself to five women. Stout was granted diversion in that case.
Douglas County District Judge Michael Malone on Wednesday appointed Lawrence attorney J.C. Gilroy to defend Stout on last week's charges of indecent solicitation of a child and fleeing or eluding police.
Police and prosecutors accuse Stout of trying to lure a 13-year-old Lawrence girl and West Junior High School student into a vehicle Thursday after school. Prosecutors also have said three other West students came forward the same day and accused a man who matches Stout's description of exposing himself while in a vehicle in the parking lot.
When he was arrested, Stout told police he was from Parks, Ark. Stout was wanted for probation violation on a 2006 misdemeanor sexual misconduct conviction in Clay County, Mo., and Missouri court records also listed a Kansas address for Stout, in Olathe.
If convicted in Douglas County, Stout faces 31 months to 136 months in prison for the aggravated indecent solicitation of a child charge and five months to 17 months on the fleeing and eluding police charge.
Malone scheduled Stout's next court appearance for 2 p.m. Wednesday.