Archive for Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Judge rejects guilty pleas, sets trial for man accused of sexually assaulting young girls

The judge did not accept his plea. The man is accused of raping a 9-year-old and 10-year-old girl multiple times.

August 17, 2010, 2:16 p.m. Updated August 17, 2010, 4:35 p.m.


A 32-year-old Lawrence man who on Tuesday said he would waive his right to a preliminary hearing and plead guilty to sexually assaulting two young girls will instead stand trial on all eight charges against him.

Douglas County District Judge Peggy Kittel did not accept the guilty pleas because the defense refused to provide more details about the case.

"I don't feel that just stating the charges as written on the information is sufficient," Kittel said.

Instead of accepting the man’s eight guilty pleas, Kittel entered not guilty pleas for the defendant and set a trial date for Jan. 24.

“We wanted the court to accept the factual basis as alleged in the complaint, and the court wanted more,” defense attorney Michael Clarke said.

Lawrence police have said the parents of the girls, who are now 9 and 10, reported to officers that the girls said the man had raped both of them repeatedly during the past two years. The rapes, police said, reportedly occurred at a home in the north-central part of Lawrence.

Kittel said the man faces three counts of rape of a child, three counts of aggravated criminal sodomy and two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

The man and his wife both face charges in the case. The man’s wife, 33, was arrested on charges of endangering a child and felony lewd and lascivious behavior. Her trial is scheduled in September.

The Journal-World does not identify suspects of sex crimes unless they are officially convicted or a judge accepts a guilty plea.


Clark Coan 7 years, 5 months ago

We need an island out in the Pacific for offenders like this guy.

Jim Williamson 7 years, 5 months ago

Child rapists gain the kid's trust, and then they either tell them that what they're doing is "just their secret" or they tell them that if they tell, bad things will happen. It's really insidious and just disgusting.

Sunny Parker 7 years, 5 months ago

How would a mother not know that a 7 and 8 year old girl was being raped. I presume the 'mother' was bathing the girls......'mother' must not have been paying attention!

snowey1 7 years, 5 months ago

Although I TOTALLY agree that a mother AND father should be aware of changes in childs behavior, mood or physical the age of 7 & 8, the child should be able to bath themselves. Unfortunately a lot of people this day and age would question just how appropriate it is for parents to still be bathing their children past a certain age/point. I know BOTH of my children were taking showers by themselves by that age. They wanted and needed the privacy (to a point) and I respected that, everyone needs "private" time. How did I make sure they were clean? They came out w/ underwear on and/or pj's and i looked behind their ears, their faces, their fingers and toes and ASKED if they washed themselves. So to point that out isn't a fair judgement and if she didn't "bathe" them physically, THAT wouldn't make her a bad mother. And just where is the father? The aunts/grandparents/uncles/friends/teachers/councilors/neighbors/doctors shouldn't they also have noticed "signs'?

Julie Jacob 7 years, 5 months ago

Check out the @lawrencecrime timeline on twitter. Defense atty argues that Jessica's Law doesn't apply. Judge must need more info on the crimes to address whether it does and to properly sentence. Defendent won't divulge any other info on crimes so the Judge is forced to go to trial.

areyouserious 7 years, 5 months ago

it was denied because the defense wants to plead guilty as charged to suffer a less severe sentence. The trial should bring out more evidence to put these freaks away alot longer. On the surface this looks crazy to deny a guilty plea, but they are gonna get what they deserve in the end!

Angela Heili 7 years, 5 months ago

Hedley, if I have this right, (anyone correct me if I'm wrong) when someone pleas guilty, they often times get to bargain a deal. I think it's akin to admitting your wrong-doing so they courts will go easier on you. So the judge refusing the guilty plea, is also refusing to go easier on him.

Angela Heili 7 years, 5 months ago

Correction: When someone pleads guilty, not pleas.
the courts will go easier on you, not they.

I didn't proofread very well!

denak 7 years, 5 months ago

Who baths their 7 and 8 year old girls? By 3 or 4, kids can take a bath on their own, they don't need a parent to do it nor do they need the parent in the bathroom with them. (close by but not in it).

Phogfan seems to be the only person who understands how child rapists work. These girls probably went through great lengths to concel it, at first, because they were confused and scared. Child rapists often times tell their victims that if they tell Mommy and Daddy won't love them anymore or that Mommy and Daddy would be hurt.

Blaming the victim or the victim's parents is uncalled for. And if you re-read the artcile, the girls did eventually tell their mom and dad and the parents went to the police to protect the girls. So, yes Mommy was paying attention and Mommy (and Daddy) should be supported --not condemned--for making sure that this person pays for his crimes.


seriouscat 7 years, 5 months ago

Thank you Dena! It is appalling that anyone could be so insensitive!

Amy Heeter 7 years, 5 months ago

No you are not missing anything. Peggy Kittle knows her stuff. The guy wanted to plea but didn't want to expalin what he had done. If Peggy Kittle had allowed a simple "[',m Guilty" to the 8 charges, later the guy could appeal bacause he didn't go into detail describe what he did. If you want these convictions to stand you have to have documentation.

ebyrdstarr 7 years, 5 months ago

The judge has to find a sufficient factual basis for the plea, yes, but there's no requirement the defendant himself provide the factual basis. The information (or complaint) should be sufficient if it's drafted properly. Curious turn of events.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 5 months ago

It is very common fro offenders to admit then recant after a deal has been made. If you noticed the mann here was ready to plead guilty to all counts while the woman is going to trial. The man's attorney is trying to strike a deal by the man pleading, later it will come out that the man will testify against the woman in the case. Ms Kittle asked the man for details, not because she has some issues but because in getting those details it will weaken the chances for appeal later. Once they have the woman the man will try to recant and claim he was coerced or some such trash. It happens all the time.

ebyrdstarr 7 years, 5 months ago

It doesn't happen successfully. The odds of successfully appealing a plea are pretty slim.

And the bottom line is the defendant doesn't have to explain or give details. It's legally sufficient to have the court read the complaint to the defendant and for the defendant to then stipulate to the information. I'm not sure why the judge thought otherwise in this case.

Jimo 7 years, 5 months ago

It isn't all that uncommon for a plea to be rejected under this circumstance. It's the circumstance itself that's unusual - the defendant refuses to make a full confession of his crimes.

Such a statement is often a condition of whatever bargain is on the table. It is an important part of the criminal process for there to be certainty of the conviction, that the criminal not be allowed to minimize or make excuses for his behavior, and often useful for victims and their families to have the criminal "own" everything that they've done. Also, while a later recantation might lead to a legal appeal, it is also to be avoided so as to prevent additional suffering to the victims later. A full and complete statement presents details that accomplish all of these purposes.

ebyrdstarr 7 years, 5 months ago

It's not unusual at all for a defendant not to make a full confession in open court at a plea hearing. Often the state provides the factual basis. It's legally sufficient for the court to read the information and ask the defendant if those alleged facts are true. There is no requirement that a defendant explain his crimes in detail.

Jimo 7 years, 5 months ago

It is when their spouse is also being put on trial separately. Failing to make a full statement only leaves available to the wife 'reasonable doubt' as to what she did versus what he did. She might plead guilty to only A, falsely saying he did B, C, and D. While the husband cannot be required to testify to this against his wife, or might want to testify to this falsity to get her off on the other charges, statements the husband made in open court in his own trial, where perhaps he said he did in fact do C and D with her participation for example, while pleading guilty thereby removing an obvious incentive for him to lie, can be introduced to impeach her testimony.

ebyrdstarr 7 years, 5 months ago

I'm sorry, I just don't think any of that is a valid or reasonable basis for refusing to let a defendant plead guilty as charged. If this were a negotiated plea agreement, sure, the state could make it part of the plea that the defendant has to state certain things on the record. But if the defendant just wants to straight-up plead as charged, I don't think the state or the court wanting to protect against some possible perjury or "false" claim of reasonable doubt in another defendant's subsequent trial should be something the defendant has to cover before his plea can be accepted.

acg 7 years, 5 months ago

Why can't we do something about these sick freaks? Why can't we change the sentencing guidelines to include death in cases like this? How can you rape a small child? WTH is wrong with someone who would do that to a little kid? They have no value in our society at all. If you rape a kid, you should be put to death. End of story!!

Amy Heeter 7 years, 5 months ago

We can but we will go to prison for it.

Steve Jacob 7 years, 5 months ago

Remember, the Supreme Court overruled the death penalty for this. Plus, the theory molesters would say why keep the kid(s) alive if your going to get the needle anyway.

Nonsense 7 years, 5 months ago

Sounds like Clarke was trying to pull a fast one and it failed. It never pays to be sneaky...

Nonsense 7 years, 5 months ago

Kids don't get named in complaints, there are multiple charges. If no factual basis, then the convictions are going to have a hard time standing later. Plus, based upon the tweet, he made an calculated argument to try and take advantage of what he incorrectly thought was a defective complaint not charging the defendant's age. He was setting this up to try and catch everyone napping and it backfired... Define:sneaky...

ebyrdstarr 7 years, 5 months ago

In no way is it pulling a fast one for a defense attorney to go into court and try to plead his client out as charged. It's really not that easy to get a plea vacated on appeal based on an insufficient factual basis.

Bobo Fleming 7 years, 5 months ago

Take a look at the fact that the wife's trial is in September. He wants to plead without giving details about her involvement and further while making his plea not involve himself in possible perjury should the facts established in the wife's trial indicate that he was not truthful to the court in his "plea."

puddleglum 7 years, 5 months ago

beyond ridiculous....imagine what the girls and parents will live with for the rest of their lives.. someday, we will exterminate all of these vermin.

vote puddleglum for governor:

mandatory sterilization for anyone with IQ lower than 110. mandatory public humiliation and target gallery for anyone convicted of child abuse. I will be the prettiest governor of Kansas ever.

Scotchguard 7 years, 5 months ago

How about mandatory sterilization for people who don't know how to use capital letters? Oh...that would be...YOU!

slowplay 7 years, 5 months ago

"mandatory sterilization for anyone with IQ lower than 110"... You would be the first in line.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 5 months ago

I'm not too worried, as long as he gets a good lengthy (hopefully life) sentence.

Even among harden inmates, child rapists/molesters are not exactly respected....

afraidnot 7 years, 5 months ago

Pleas are a great thing for the system, means fewer trials. Now these little girls are going to have to suffer through a trial on top of what they've already been through. Kittle seems to go over a lot of plea agreements between prosecutors and defense... just makes it less likely for agreements to be reached in the future.

somebodynew 7 years, 5 months ago

Are you people NOT reading the article. There was no plea Bargin on the table. The DA was ready for the hearing, when the Defense Attorney suddenly wanted to plead his guy guilty to the crimes AS CHARGED. From my experience, there is not many defense attorneys who are willing to let his guy plead guilty as charged before a preliminary hearing.

There is something more to this story to come and thank (whoever) Judge Kittel must have realized it. And yes, from what I have seen, normally the defendant must make some kind of statement as to what s/he did to commit the crime. It may be as simple as the wife's trial coming up, or it could have something to do with the sentencing part for him and "Jessica's Law" provisions, but there is something there if his attorney was willing to let him do this as a surprize.

ebyrdstarr 7 years, 5 months ago

It's not a requirement that the defendant make a statement beyond I did what the complaint says I did. It happens a lot that the defendant doesn't say anything more than that or that the state offers the factual basis. This is why I'm curious about exactly what happened. Because the judge said she doesn't feel agreeing to the information is sufficient. Did she mean in this specific case, the information doesn't provide any factual allegations? Or was she suggesting that as a matter of law, agreeing to the information can never be sufficient to establish a factual basis for a plea? If she meant the latter, she is wrong. Accepting or rejecting a plea is a discretionary act, so it's not really appealable. I'm just curious.

jafs 7 years, 5 months ago


I was under the impression that if the prosecution and defense agreed on a plea, that the judge doesn't have the right to arbitrarily deny it.

ebyrdstarr 7 years, 5 months ago

Judges in this state aren't bound by plea agreements and don't have to accept guilty pleas.

jafs 7 years, 5 months ago

Does that differ from state to state?

somebodynew 7 years, 5 months ago

jafs - you are incorrect on two counts. 1. There was no plea DEAL in this case. The guilty plea was a surprize move. The DA was ready to present witnesses. He was going to plead "guilty as charged", which is unusual.

  1. The judge has the final say and can reject any plea bargain if they don't feel it is proper. They also can accept the plea, but not the sentence agreed on. I have seen this a few time, where the judge accepts the guilty plea, but then does not give the sentence agreed upon.

@ ebyrdstarr - I just took it to mean it wasn't sufficient in this particular case. Having not seen the complaint filed or knowing the details, I am just thinking there is more here that has to come out for some sentencing thing. Just my impression though.

jafs 7 years, 5 months ago


2 is a bit funny - you mean if I am accused of something, and agree to a deal with the prosecution which includes a certain sentence, the judge can then accept the guilty plea and impose a stiffer sentence?

I'm pretty sure people would be less likely to make such deals if they knew that to be the case.

Are they informed of that before accepting the deal?

ebyrdstarr 7 years, 5 months ago

Somebodynew- That's what I'm thinking, too, but if that's the case, well that's the state's fault. If the state left something out of the complaint, the defendant shouldn't be required to fill in that fact gap.

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